Dublin-based independent Petroceltic on 18 February sold its stakes in three Egyptian exploration blocks to its Italian partner Edison. This leaves the cash-strapped firm, with a key loan repayment due later this month, ever more dependent on its key 2.1 tcf Ain Tsila project in Algeria proceeding like clockwork. The signs for this are not great: the firm says “the current best estimate for first gas production is now early 2019:” it had long targeted 2018 (MEES, 3 July 2015).

The cashflow to pay for Ain Tsila comes from its gas output from 12 fields in Egypt’s Nile Delta. But here output is in freefall: from 105mn cfd in 2013, to 95mn cfd for 2014 and just 60-65mn cfd for 2015. And of course falling prices don’t help either (on the plus side Egyptian gas prices, though not those for associated liquids, are fixed; on the downside payments have been anything but prompt – see p15). (CONTINUED - 369 WORDS)