Union Jack Oil plc (LON:UJO) Chief Executive Officer David Bramhill caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss the successful appeal at Biscathorpe, updates on Wressle and any other projects on the horizon.
Q1: David, you’ve announced this morning a successful appeal against the local authorities’ previous refusal to grant planning permission for Biscathorpe. Could you just explain for us now what this means for Union Jack Oil?
A1: Well, obviously it goes without saying it’s excellent, excellent news for the company.
We’ve waited long enough, as you know, this took over a year, but at least we got a good decision. This is what happens in the UK nowadays, very, very slow, but OK, I think the wait was well worth the actual result.
What this means, with Biscathorpe, we’ve always had that really, really excellent project, it’s been on our books for several, several years, we drilled a well, we made a discovery on it, which was never tested, and we’ve been planning, we’ve got all sorts of nice things that we’d like to be doing there. What that is a massive tick in the box in the company because instead of wondering, well, is this project ever going to happen? Is it worthless? Because obviously if we never had any planning permission given to us, you can’t do anything and likewise, so you’re always in a state of limbo, whereby you’ve got a really nice project, however, you can’t do anything with it.
As I mentioned earlier, great big tick in the box, and it now means that we’ve got something tangible we can touch, we can plan, a lot of planning has already gone into the project anyway over the years, and basically, we’re ready to go. More importantly, we’ve got the money to go ahead. We don’t need a raise or anything like that, it’s all in the kitty.
So, we’re in particularly good shape and it’s a nice, nice project for us.
Q2: You mentioned Wressle in the interims, but do you have any other updates on the flagship project?
A2: Well, I say an update, it’ll be very, very soon. We’re going to make an update, but I’m sure everybody knows, especially shareholders of course, we had to put a downhole pump in, because basically as wells get a little bit more mature, they need some assistance, we all do when you get older. So, we put a downhole pump in, we’re testing, and we should be able to give some news to the shareholders very, very soon.
As you say, it’s a flagship, and it’ll be around for many, many years, in my opinion.
There’s still lots and lots of work there, I think we haven’t even scratched the surface for the Ashover Grit and we’ve still got the Penistone flags to go, which is a project on its own. Once again, we’re fully funded to do all this work.
Q3: Are there any other projects on the horizon that investors can look out for over the coming months from Union Jack Oil?
A3: I wish you wouldn’t ask those sort of questions. What we have found in the UK, things are getting slower, and we need to be two steps ahead, so in our interim report, which was issued about two months ago, we said that we were going to be looking for new projects. I guess that’s why you’ve asked the question.
We’re very, very active, there are three or four very, very nice projects, which is could work for the company, but I’m not saying that we would ever enter into, but really, what an oil company does, we look, we seek for protection and I’m sure one day, a very, very nice project will come back into our fold, which would be very, very good for us.
I think cash is king now, it really, really is. Shareholders, I won’t use the word impatient, but they want really instant activity, cash flow, dividends, that’s what makes a company successful.
We’re not at the top of the ladder yet, but we’re certainly off the bottom rung, we’re not the plankton. For sure, we already paid dividends, and the policy remains the same, that hasn’t changed, as we stated in our report.
So, I think you might see a return to the company looking for more production and cash flow, which in this day and age, it can’t be bad, can it?