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Pipeline Integrity Confirmation and Project Update

Independent Oil and Gas plc ("IOG" or the "Company"), the development and production focused Oil and Gas Company, is pleased to provide conclusive confirmation of the integrity of the Thames Pipeline and a progress update on its Southern North Sea (SNS) gas project.

Highlights:
  • A 150-bar pressure hydrotest has fully confirmed the Thames Pipeline’s integrity at pressure well above that required to deliver IOG’s gas safely to Bacton terminal.  This is a major step towards FDP approval.
  • The Thames Pipeline is now conclusively proven for a new economic life over the next two decades as a fully viable, minimal cost, zero tariff export route delivering a maximum annual capacity of 200 BCF directly into the UK market.
  • A tethered pig inspection run from the terminal into the line’s final section also delivered excellent results, with no internal corrosion nor external defects found.
  • These operations demonstrate pipeline capacity of up to 550 MMcfd, creating substantial tariff-free ullage for IOG’s existing gas portfolio and future acquisitions, plus third-party gas tariff opportunities.  The Company’s current SNS development projects will use around half of this available capacity at peak.
  • The Company has made significant further technical and financial progress on the SNS gas development project and is now in the final preparatory stages for FID.  Front End Engineering and Design (“FEED”) studies and bidding processes are substantially complete and contract negotiations with preferred parties well advanced.
  • FID is expected during Q4 2018 and funding plans are being finalised accordingly.  Construction of key project infrastructure is expected to follow during 2019 with installation scheduled for Q1-2 2020 and first gas in late Q2 2020.
Andrew Hockey, CEO of IOG commented:
 

I am delighted to announce that the internal inspection and high-pressure hydrotest have indisputably confirmed the viability of our pipeline as a very low-cost export route for all of our own substantial gas portfolio, plus a potential extra revenue stream through third party tariffing.  Full ownership of this export pipeline with very substantial capacity of 550 MMcfd – acquired for a nominal sum – gives us real competitive advantage to capture consolidation opportunities in the Southern North Sea.

The recommissioning of the Thames Pipeline will breathe new economic life into a part of the North Sea formerly considered to be in terminal decline and help to maximise economic recovery for the UK.  The new gas developments enabled by the re-use of this pipeline will make a significant contribution to providing domestic energy resources to UK homes and industry over the next two decades and provide extended employment opportunities in the region.

This is an especially exciting time for the Company as we progress ever closer to a transformational FID and also prepare to drill a fully funded appraisal well at Harvey in the coming months which could dramatically increase our proven reserves and company valuation.

Pipeline Integrity Confirmation

After detailed consultations with regulatory authorities on the necessary steps to re-commission the Thames Pipeline, on 6 September 2018 IOG ran an internal crawler-based measurement device from the Bacton terminal to 800m offshore to assess the line’s internal and external condition.  This section was at a higher risk of degradation since decommissioning in 2015.  The inspection tool was successfully run and resulting data analysis showed no internal corrosion nor external defects, confirming the excellent condition of that section of the line and removing the potential need for refurbishment work.

This result in turn enabled the Company to determine the safe maximum test pressure (as required under the Pipeline Code) for a 24-hour hydrotest to be 150-bar.  The hydrotest was successfully completed on 21-23 September 2018.  As the maximum operating pressure required under IOG’s Field Development Plan (FDP) is approximately 80-bar, the 150-bar test level translates to a maximum allowable operating pressure of 100-bar, establishing a very substantial capacity margin.  This level represents a maximum capacity of approximately 550MMcfd, comfortably encompassing all planned production from IOG’s 632 BCF portfolio (303 BCF 2P reserves and 329 BCF mid-case resources) portfolio while leaving extensive tariff-free ullage for any further fields acquired in the future or tariff-paying third-party gas.

Project Update

Alongside the pipeline integrity operations, the Company has been progressing numerous other critical workstreams to reach the required level of project definition for Phase 1 FID.  Front End Engineering and Design (FEED) studies have been completed for all key areas, including refurbishment of the Thames Reception facilities at the Bacton terminal.  The selection process for major project contracts is concluding, with commercial details agreed and contracts now under negotiation.

In that context, the Company expects to proceed to FID and obtain FDP approval during Q4 2018 and has been finalising funding plans accordingly.  The project schedule has been revised to reflect the optimal timing for both fabrication and installation of key infrastructure, including unmanned platforms, connecting pipelines and associated subsea equipment.  Safety is paramount in all IOG’s operations and as such the delivery of Phase 1 offshore installation is scheduled to commence immediately after the 2019-20 winter season, rather than in Q4 2019, leading to an expected first gas date towards the end of Q2 2020.

Certain information communicated in this announcement was, prior to its publication, inside information for the purposes of Article 7 of Regulation 596/2014.
 
Enquiries:
Independent Oil and Gas plc
Andrew Hockey (CEO)
James Chance (CFO)
Mark Hughes (COO)
+44 (0) 20 3879 0510
finnCap Ltd
Christopher Raggett
Anthony Adams
(Corporate Finance)
Camille Gochez
(Corporate Broking)
+44 (0) 20 7220 0500
Peel Hunt LLP
Richard Crichton
David McKeown
+44 (0) 20 7418 8900
Camarco
Georgia Edmonds
Tom Huddart
Monique Perks
+44 (0) 20 3757 4980

Notes

About Independent Oil and Gas:
IOG owns substantial low risk, high value gas Reserves in the UK Southern North Sea.  The Company is targeting a 2P peak production rate in excess of 200 MMcfd (c. 35,000 Boe/d) from its substantial current portfolio (2P Reserves of 303 BCF) via an efficient hub strategy.  Alongside this it continues to pursue value accretive acquisitions, to generate significant shareholder returns.  All IOG's licences are owned 100% and operated by IOG.