Union Jack Oil: Sustained profit, strong cash position and robust balance sheet

Union Jack Oil plc (LON:UJO), a UK focused onshore conventional oil and gas production, development and exploration company, has announced its unaudited results for the Half Year ended 30 June 2023.

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL HIGHLIGHTS

·    For the six-month period ended 30 June 2023:

o  Gross Profit of £1,608,973

o  Net Profit of £572,263

o  Revenue of £3,584,866

·    Cash balances, receivables and liquid investments stand in excess of £9,250,000 as at
8 September 2023

·    Robust Balance Sheet, cash generative and debt free

·    All current projects funded for at least the next 12 months without recourse to Capital Markets

·    Wressle is amongst the most productive conventional producing UK onshore oilfields with nearly 500,000 barrels of high-quality oil having been produced from the Ashover Grit formation alone

·    Wells planned for Keddington, Wressle and West Newton

·    Ongoing evaluation of new projects offering short-term cash-flow, rapid payback and accretive value

David Bramhill, Executive Chairman, commented: “I am very pleased to be again, able to present to the shareholders of Union Jack, a positive set of Half Yearly results, containing several highlights of note, including a sustained profit, a strong cash position and a robust Balance Sheet free of debt.

“These results reflect the determined effort by the Board of Directors, advisers and technical consultants, all who share the same objective to grow the Company with minimal dilution in the future.

“Union Jack remains in a strong financial position with a combination of consistent cash flows, principally from our flagship asset at Wressle, plus significant future upside potential from our balanced portfolio, giving Union Jack the confidence to support a forward drilling and development programme on our key projects that is being planned for the remainder of 2023 and beyond.

“Union Jack continues to be cash flow positive, covering all current G&A, OPEX and contracted or planned CAPEX costs, including any drilling activities for at least the next 12 months, without recourse to the Capital Markets.

“The future of Union Jack remains bright.”

CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT

I am pleased to present this Half Yearly Report for the six months ended 30 June 2023 to the shareholders of the Company.

OPERATIONAL AND FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

·    Gross profit of £1,608,973 for the six-month period ended 30 June 2023

·    Net profit of £572,263 for the six-month period ended 30 June 2023

·    Revenue of £3,584,866 for the six-month period ended 30 June 2023

·    Cash balances, receivables and liquid investments stand in excess of £9,250,000 as at
8 September 2023

·    Robust Balance Sheet, cash generative and debt free

·    Wressle is amongst the most productive conventional producing UK onshore oilfields with nearly 500,000 barrels of high-quality oil having been produced from the Ashover Grit formation alone

·    Wells planned for Keddington, Wressle and West Newton

·    Ongoing evaluation of new projects offering short-term cash-flow, rapid payback and accretive to value

FINANCIAL AND OPERATIONAL OVERVIEW

Union Jack has made good progress during 2023 which can be seen in the Half Yearly results ended 30 June 2023 (the “Period”), with a net profit posted of £572,263 (H1 2022: £2,034,086).

A Gross Profit of £1,608,973 (H1 2022: £2,833,629) was posted for the Period.

Revenues for the Period were £3,584,866 (H1 2022: £4,384,254).

The average oil price received for the Period was USD80 (H1 2022: USD104).

Foreign exchange movements had a negative effect on revenues with the firming of the GBP versus the USD conversion rate.

Contributions from our flagship project Wressle, supplemented by revenues from the Keddington oilfield, have enabled the Company to sustain and support an extremely robust Balance Sheet, with cash, near term receivables and investments currently standing in-excess of £9,250,000 and to remain debt free. The majority of long-term cash is held in a competitive, interest bearing account, without risk to funds.

The Company is fully funded for all G&A, OPEX and planned CAPEX costs, including any budgeted drilling activities for at least the next 12 months without recourse to the Capital Markets.

Since the commencement of the dividend and share buy-back programme during September 2022 to date, the Company has returned over £2,995,000 to shareholders. The dividend policy remains as previously stated and the intention is to continue these payments, based on the proportion of free cash available, subject to our project obligations being fulfilled.

Union Jack’s selective investment portfolio during the period has generated significant returns, well over 100% of our original investment from the sale of the Claymore Area Royalty Agreement in May 2023 and a return of 194% on our investment in Egdon Resources plc, as a result of the recent agreed take over by Petrichor Partners LLP.

Operationally, good progress has been made at Wressle where the Joint Venture partners have agreed a budget and drilling programme, targeting the Penistone Flags formation for 2024. Pre-application planning advice has been sought from North Lincolnshire Council for review and a decision has been made on a sales route for the gas produced. A planning application is in preparation along with the associated supporting studies and reports.

Agreement has been reached between the partners to drill a side-track well at the earliest opportunity at Keddington, for which planning consent is already in place. A final well trajectory has been decided upon and procurement of the rig, materials and services is progressing. The well, if successful, will add considerably to production.

West Newton, located in an area that provides excellent regional infrastructure and substantial technically recoverable resources, awaits the drilling of a 1,500 metre horizontal well, where planning has been approved, whilst corporate activity regarding our Joint Venture partners continues with third party discussions regarding future drilling and possible development partnerships.

Additional information on our leading projects at Wressle, West Newton, Keddington and other licence interests can be found later within this statement.

Union Jack remains committed to promoting and investing in the conventional UK onshore oil sector. The opinion of the Board is that several “rich pickings” remain which could be transformed into substantive discoveries over the coming years. However, the rate of progress can only be described as painfully slow due to the wider UK regulatory process that neither the Company nor its Joint Venture partners have the ability to influence. Onshore UK will remain the prime driver for Union Jack and we are confident that our flagship project Wressle, will continue to deliver as the future development plans indicate.

Union Jack’s very able technical team continue to screen and investigate the impressive upside that we believe is contained within our existing projects and we will continue to invest and agree to capital expenditure budgets to advance them. However, over the past year we have considered the potential UK political environment and the possible impacts on Union Jack’s business development over the coming years.

To mitigate future risk, the Board believes it is compelled strategically to seek growth opportunities further afield in politically safe regimes and with sympathetic views toward the oil industry, without compromising the world’s environmental objectives and the aim of a Net Zero target by 2050.

Over the past six months we have appointed a team of specialists who are able to provide a bespoke service in generating potential value adding projects for review and consideration. We are seeking projects that will be self-funding in the short term, without placing undue strain on our strong Balance Sheet, allowing us to remain focused on the onshore UK as our core area of investment. We look forward to updating the market as this search progresses.

PEDL180 AND PEDL182 WRESSLE OILFIELD DEVELOPMENT (40%)

Wressle is located in Lincolnshire on the Western Margin of the Humber Basin.

The Wressle-1 well discovery was defined on proprietary 3-D seismic data. The structure is on trend with the producing Crosby Warren oilfield and the Broughton B-1 oil discovery, both to the immediate northwest, and the Brigg-1 discovery to the southeast. All these wells contain oil in various different sandstone reservoirs within the Upper Carboniferous succession.

Since the resumption of production during August 2021, following the successful proppant-squeeze and coiled tubing operation, Wressle-1 has produced nearly 500,000 barrels of oil from the Ashover Grit formation.

Since late June 2023, limited amounts of water have been observed with water cut averaging approximately 3.72% of total field production. This figure has remained constant throughout July and August 2023.

The Operator has planned for this event and a simple clean water disposal plan is in place which is an inexpensive exercise for the Joint Venture partners.

The start of modest water production is significantly later than originally anticipated, providing further evidence that the expected recoverable volumes from the Ashover Grit are likely to be at the higher estimates detailed in the independent Competent Person’s Report (“CPR”) prepared by ERCE during 2016. The 2016 CPR forecast gross volumes from the Ashover Grit of 2P 0.54 MMstb and 3P 1.12 MMstb.

The planned maintenance shutdown scheduled for early 2024, where artificial lift equipment capable of pumping in excess of 1,000 barrels of fluid per day was to be installed along with other site upgrades, has been brought forward and the fitting of a downhole jet pump is currently being completed, along with the siting of other surface equipment. This exercise is a natural sequence in the life-cycle of an oil well and offers a reliable method of ensuring the continued operation and the optimisation of its future production performance.

Environmental monitoring throughout the Wressle operation has shown no measurable impact on surface or groundwater quality, no related seismicity and that operational noise levels have been contained within permitted ranges.

Evaluations are continuing in order to deliver a full Field Development Plan that will maximise hydrocarbon recoveries from the Ashover Grit, Wingfield Flags, Penistone Flags and other associated prospects.

WEST NEWTON APPRAISAL PEDL183 (16.665%)

PEDL183 is located onshore UK, north of the River Humber, encompassing the town of Beverley, East Yorkshire. The licence area is within the western sector of the Southern Zechstein Basin.

Union Jack entered into a farm-in during 2018 with Rathlin Energy (UK) Limited (“Rathlin”) the Operator, and since that time the West Newton A-2 (“WNA-2”) and West Newton B -1Z (“WNB-1Z”) drilling programmes have yielded substantial hydrocarbon discoveries within the Kirkham Abbey formation.

Throughout 2022, data collected during drilling operations and well testing, which included core, oil and gas samples, wireline log and well test records were analysed by independent laboratories CoreLab, Applied Petroleum Technology (“APT”) and RPS Group Limited (“RPS”). The results of these analyses, in conjunction with internal evaluations, have been invaluable in informing the upcoming programme of work and future drilling plans.

The laboratory reports confirm that the hydrocarbon-bearing Kirkham Abbey reservoir is extremely sensitive to aqueous fluids and that previous drilling of the West Newton wells with water-based mud had created near well-bore damage through the creation of very fine rock fragments, affecting the natural porosity and permeability of the formation which had a detrimental effect on its ability to flow. Further analyses have determined that the use of dilute water-based acids during well testing would have also affected the flow characteristics of the Kirkham Abbey reservoir.

These tests indicate that by drilling the Kirkham Abbey reservoir with an oil-based drilling fluid, damage to the oil and gas reservoir should be minimised.

The Operator, Rathlin, has made applications to the Environment Agency (“EA”) for use of oil-based drilling fluids within the hydrocarbon bearing Permian section for both the West Newton A and B sites.

Analyses by APT of numerous oil and gas samples recovered from the West Newton wells during testing, along with evaluation of mud gases measured during drilling utilising a proprietary software package, indicates that the Kirkham Abbey reservoir is predominantly gas (primarily methane 90% plus ethane 5%) with associated light condensate.

RPS has modelled wells extending up to 1,500 metres horizontally through the Kirkham Abbey reservoir. These wells have a much greater likelihood of encountering significant sections of the naturally fractured reservoir, enhancing its productive capability.

In preparation for a decision on the potential development of the West Newton discoveries, the Operator submitted revised planning applications for the development of West Newton to the ERYC. This was approved by the ERYC Planning Committee by a vote of ten to one during March 2022.

A revised CPR was compiled by RPS during 2022, evaluating the resources of PEDL183 as of 30 June 2022, (“Effective Date”).

The results of the 2022 CPR were very encouraging, highlighting:

•    Kirkham Abbey Best Case Gross Unrisked Contingent Technically Recoverable Sales Gas is estimated to be 197.6 billion cubic feet (“bcf”)

•    Geological Chance of Success of Kirkham Abbey horizontal well estimated to be 85.5%

•    Gross NPV10 risked value of Kirkham Abbey Contingent Gas Resource as at Effective Date of USD396.1 million post tax

•    Substantial additional Prospective Resource figures for Ellerby, Spring Hill and Withernsea prospects

In the preparation of the 2022 CPR, RPS adopted the Petroleum Resource Management System (“PRMS”) standard.

WEST NEWTON GROSS UNRISKED TECHNICALLY RECOVERABLE SALES

CATEGORYGROSS TECHNICALLY RECOVERABLE
GAS
(BCF)
LIQUIDS
(MBBL)
1C99.7299.4
2C197.6593.0
3C393.01,178.9


Note: Net data for Union Jack can be calculated by applying its 16.665% economic interest to the above gross data.

WEST NEWTON GEOLOGICAL CHANCE OF SUCCESS

ASSETSOURCE ROCKCHARGEMIGRATIONRESERVOIRTRAPSEALGEOLOGICAL COS
West Newton1.001.001.000.900.951.000.855

A future West Newton development will benefit from being located in an area that provides access to substantial regional infrastructure and could deliver significant volumes of onshore low-carbon sales gas into the UK’s energy market.

Domestically produced natural gas is, and will remain, a much-needed part of the energy mix as the UK seeks to reduce its reliance on imported products.

Union Jack looks forward to the drilling of a 1,500 metre horizontal well at the earliest opportunity and unlocking the significant potential of the Greater West Newton project.

PEDL253 BISCATHORPE (45%)

PEDL 253 is situated within the proven hydrocarbon fairway of the South Humber Basin and is on-trend with the Keddington oilfield and the Saltfleetby gasfield.

While drilling the Biscathorpe-2 well, there were hydrocarbon shows, elevated gas readings and sample fluorescence observed over the entire interval from the top of the Dinantian to the Total Depth of the well, with 68 metres being interpreted as being oil-bearing.

Independent consultants APT also conducted analyses, confirming a hydrocarbon column of 33-34 API gravity oil, comparable with the oil produced at the nearby Keddington oilfield.

Further evaluation of the results of the Biscathorpe-2 well, together with the reprocessing of 264 square kilometres of 3D seismic, indicate a material and potentially commercially viable hydrocarbon resource remaining to be appraised.

Subject to a favourable planning appeal decision a side-track well is planned, targeting the Dinantian Carbonate where the Operator has assessed, in accordance with the PRMS Standard, a gross Mean Prospective Resource of 2.55 MMbbl. The overlying Basal Westphalian Sandstone has the potential to add gross Mean Prospective Resources of 3.95 MMbbl. Economic modelling demonstrates that the Westphalian target is economically robust, especially in the current oil price environment. Commercial screening indicates break-even full cycle economics to be USD18.07 per barrel.

During November 2021, a planning application for a side-track drilling operation, associated testing and long-term production was refused by the Lincolnshire County Council Planning Committee, despite being recommended for approval by the planning officers.

The Joint Venture partners are awaiting a decision from the Planning Inspectorate, where an appeal was heard in October 2022.

Union Jack’s technical team believe that Biscathorpe remains one of the largest unappraised conventional onshore discoveries within the UK.

PEDL005(R) KEDDINGTON (55%)

The producing Keddington oilfield is located along the highly prospective East Barkwith Ridge, an east-west structural high on the southern margin of the Humber Basin.

A subsurface review conducted by the Operator has highlighted a viable target to the east of the field, with up to 180,000 barrels of incremental production.

Modelling indicates that infill drilling is forecast to improve recovery from the Keddington field by between 113,000 to 183,000 barrels of oil. With planning permission already in place, Keddington presents an excellent opportunity to increase oil production relatively inexpensively.

The Keddington 3-D seismic has been re-processed and a well trajectory agreed between the Joint Venture partners. The procurement of the rig, materials and services is progressing and the drilling of a side-track well is expected to take place at the earliest opportunity.

PEDL241 NORTH KELSEY (50%)

North Kelsey is a conventional oil exploration prospect, on trend with and analogous to the Wressle oilfield which lies approximately 15 kilometres to the northwest. The prospect has been mapped from 3-D seismic data and has the potential for oil in four stacked Upper Carboniferous reservoir targets.

The Operator estimates that gross Prospective Resources range from 4.66 to 8.47 MMbo.

During August 2022, the Operator submitted an appeal on behalf of the Joint Venture, against the refusal of an extension of time to the existing planning permission by Lincolnshire County Council for the drilling and testing of a conventional exploration well at the North Kelsey site.

Subsequent to this event, Union Jack was informed by the Operator that it has withdrawn the planning appeal outlined above.

A new application will be submitted at a later date following consultation with the local community.

NET ZERO CARBON POLICY

The UK is committed by law to reach Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050. Union Jack pursues a strategy whereby it is not the Operator of any of its projects. Therefore, the Company will only work with Operators who have a firm commitment to safety, environmental and social responsibility in all aspects of their operations.

Regardless of the fact that the Company has chosen not to be an Operator, we are subject to the same scrutiny as any other hydrocarbon producer.

We remain pro-active in the quest for Net Zero and Union Jack’s focus is to minimise emissions and the carbon footprint generated by its hydrocarbon interests in the most efficient means possible, whilst continuing to contribute positively to the growing demand for energy and hydrocarbon products in the supply chain.

As the demand for energy increases as the global economy recovers, hydrocarbons will continue to play an important role in ensuring the energy security of the UK.

Union Jack’s development interests are located close to areas with a high demand for energy and as a consequence management believes that locally produced hydrocarbons provide the benefit of displacing, to some extent, imported hydrocarbons.

OUTLOOK

I am very pleased again to be able to present to the shareholders of Union Jack a positive set of Half Yearly results, containing several highlights of note, including a sustained profit, a strong cash position and a robust Balance Sheet free of debt, reflecting the determined effort and perseverance by the Board of Directors, advisers and valued technical consultants with an unwavering objective to grow the Company going forward with minimal dilution in the future.

Union Jack remains in a strong financial position with a combination of consistent cash flows, principally from our flagship asset at Wressle, plus significant future upside potential from our balanced project portfolio.

Union Jack continues to be cash flow positive covering all G&A, OPEX and contracted or planned CAPEX costs, including any drilling activities for at least the next 12 months without recourse to Capital Markets.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank our shareholders for their continued support and I look forward to the remainder of 2023 and beyond, reporting on a number of fronts, in particular on our potential new ventures.

The future of Union Jack remains bright.

David Bramhill

Executive Chairman

11 September 2023

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