Oil and gad companies enjoy bumper 2009

Small-cap oil and gas companies saw a 125 per cent jump in value in 2009, though the improvements were offset by the whopping 66 per cent drop in the previous year, according to the Ernst & Young oil and gas index.

In the last quarter, the oil and gas sector of the Alternative Investment Market posted a 6 per cent rise, with 38 per cent of companies making a gain. Given the difficult market conditions, no new companies from the sector have listed on AIM in the last 12 months, although the value of secondary issues grew from £700m in 2008 to £1.1bn in 2009.

Alec Carstairs at Ernst & Young said: “Since the beginning of 2009 the index has posted gains in each successive quarter, contributing to a progressive reversal of the substantial declines seen in the closing months of 2008. Junior oil company stocks have benefited from the steady recovery in investor confidence and higher oil prices.”