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UK upstream independents league table 2013

March 2014

The UK upstream independents sector is vital to the ongoing success of the UK based oil and gas industry. Participants in this sector play a key role in the development of reserves, not only on the UK Continental Shelf, but increasingly overseas, resulting in a significant contribution to both industry and the UK economy.

The UK upstream independents had a challenging 2013. Accessing traditional sources of finance was difficult, with the operations and expansion plans of junior oil and gas companies being particularly affected. Therefore, M&A was the primary option for raising capital. In addition, UK upstream independents faced increasing pressures from rising exploration and production costs.

Brent crude oil prices remained above $108 per barrel for a third year in 2013, as global growth continued to accelerate and supply pressures persisted. There was a surge in crude oil output from the United States and Saudi Arabia, which was offset by supply disruptions caused by protests in Libya, violence in South Sudan and the crisis in Syria.

Total market capitalisation of the top 25 companies fell 15 per cent from £26.5 billion at the end of 2012 to £22.5 billion at the end of 2013. This was largely due to the £3.6 billion fall in Tullow Oil’s market capitalisation as some of the wells it drilled during the year turned out to be dry. With investors heavily discounting exploration assets, a number of other companies, including Salamander Energy, Bowleven and RusPetro, also saw their market capitalisation dropping significantly.

Tullow Oil has been leading the UK upstream independents league table since it was first published in 2009. While Ophir Energy was ranked second again, Afren rose to third place as a result of its highly successful drilling campaign in Nigeria.

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