Oil minnow Jersey climbs 500% after North Sea discovery

A small AIM-listed firm hung on to a massive share price gain today after its stock rocketed by nearly 500 per cent on a 130m-barrel oil find in the North Sea.

Jersey Oil and Gas has an 18 per cent stake in the Verbier venture off the coast of Scotland alongside Norwegian explorer Statoil.

Yesterday its shares rocketed 485.7 per cent from 56p to 328p and its market value leapt from £5.6million to £32.8million after the firms announced the find in the Moray Firth.

Oil find: Jersey Oil and Gas has an 18 per cent stake in the Verbier venture

Today the stock held on to those gains, as just before the end of the day’s trading it sat at 327.5p, just 0.5p down on its opening price.

Jersey chief executive Andrew Benitz, 41, said: ‘We are delighted by the positive outcome of the Verbier sidetrack.

‘The well has achieved its objective with the results exceeding expectations.’

Statoil said the find suggested there could be significant remaining potential in the area.

North Sea production has been hit by falling oil prices and dwindling reserves, with about 36 jobs supported by the oil and gas sector lost every day last year.

The UK produced about £17billion of oil and gas last year, or about 60 per cent of the country’s needs.

Jez Averty, senior vice president of exploration in Norway and the UK at Statoil, said the find is encouraging but it is unclear how much could be recovered and more work is needed.

Statoil also tested two other UK prospects during the summer, but said results for those were disappointing.

It comes as oil services firm Wood Group’s £2.2billion takeover of rival Amec Foster Wheeler was finalised yesterday.

Aberdeen-based Wood Group wants to cut its exposure to the tough oil and gas market by adding Amec’s nuclear, renewables and other divisions to its portfolio. It plans to strip about £145million of costs from the business.

Australian engineering company WorleyParsons is buying Amec’s North Sea oil and gas division for £228million as part of the deal.

Competition officials said the sale would put to rest concerns over the impact on the North Sea market of Amec’s takeover.

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