Who are the top 25 independent FTSE oil and gas producers?

UK upstream independents league table 2019

Oil market overview

Oil prices moved between $55 and $75/barrel in 2019. The average oil price at $64/barrel in 2019 was about 10 per cent lower than in 2018. This was due to a combination of abundant supplies available on global markets – mostly from US shale – partially offset by increased concerns about slowing of global trade with OPEC production cuts and geopolitical tensions in the Middle East resulting in some short lived spikes.

The oil markets are being shaken by the unfolding impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global oil demand and the subsequent geopolitical turbulence. While measures are being put in place to limit the fall in oil prices, the impact on the market and its participants is likely to be significant for the rest of 2020.

Chart 1: Brent crude oil price ($/barrel)

Table 1: Upstream independents league table 2019

The total market capitalisation of the top 25 upstream independents declined 15 per cent to £9.8 billion in 2019 from £11.5 billion in 2018. This was driven by oil price trends as well as concerns about debt levels and the carbon agenda.

Overall, the market caps of 14 companies improved, while those of 11 declined at the end of December 2019 compared with the same time in 2018.

Overview of League Table

Energean Oil & Gas, following its debut in the league table at second position last year, took over from Tullow Oil in 2019. The company’s market cap increased 71 per cent year-on-year on the back of equity-funded acquisitions and progress on their Israeli gas development project.

Cairn Energy returned to profitability in H1 2019 and reclaimed its second place position.

Who entered the league table in 2019?

Six players – five of which are North Sea-focused – entered the top-25 in 2019:

  • Rockrose Energy entered the league table at 12th position and recorded the highest percentage increase in market cap among the top 25 independents. The company’s market cap was buoyed by the completion of its acquisition of Marathon's UK assets during the year.
  • Pantheon Resources, the US-focused independent returned to the league table at 17th position after a positive year that saw it acquire some new assets and generate stronger production results.
  • Independent Oil & Gas returned to the league table at 18th position after the successful farm-out of one of its North Sea assets.
  • UK Oil & Gas returned to the independents league table in 2019 at 23rd position. Its share price peaked to a one-year high in February 2019 when the company announced its additional investment in Horse Hill Developments Limited.
  • The Parkmead Group saw a slight year-on-year increase in its market cap that pushed the company up by six positions to 24th in 2019.
  • Reabold Resources, an investor in oil and gas projects, made its debut on the league table at 25th position after it was reclassified on LSE from a financial services company to an oil and gas company. Its share price was boosted by the discovery of an onshore gas field in north-east England and by an additional investment in Danube Petroleum.

Who left the league table in 2019?

Of the six exits, three were due to acquisition and three due to relative declines in companies’ market caps.

Exits due to acquisitions:

  • Faroe Petroleum was acquired by Norwegian oil and gas company DNO
  • Ophir Energy was acquired by Indonesia’s Medco Energi Internasional
  • Eland Oil & Gas was acquired by Nigerian oil and gas company Seplat Petroleum.

Exits due to relative declines in market cap:

  • President Energy
  • Nostrum Oil & Gas
  • Sound Energy.


Focus on mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on workforce and business activity, maintaining liquidity as well as reducing capital and operational costs amid the slowdown in global demand will be key for all upstream independents in the short and medium term.

How we did it

We include all United Kingdom, Guernsey, Jersey and Isle of Man-incorporated, oil and gas exploration and production companies (ICB subsector 533) trading on the London Stock Exchange as of 31 December 2019. We then compare market capitalization from the same point of the previous year and rank the top 25 companies by £ value.

Note: As of January 2020, two independents – Amerisur Resources and Exillion Energy – no longer trade on the LSE.

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