Oil explorer Burren to stage £175m flotation

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The Independent Online

Burren Energy, the oil production and exploration group, is to be valued at £175m when it floats this week, only the 11th full listing on the Stock Exchange this year.

The company will say that its shares are to be priced at 130p each when they begin trading on Thursday, having raised £20m to boost its drilling work in the Caspian and the Congo.

The management of Burren, led by Finian O'Sullivan, the chief executive, Andrew Rose, the finance director and Atul Gupta, the chief operating officer, will own an 11 per cent share of the business valued at £19.25m.

The company, which has oil fields in the Caspian region of the former Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Congo, will also announce today that it is extending its operations to Egypt where it is about to sign a deal with the government for new drilling rights.

Mr O'Sullivan said: "Going forward over the next two years we are going to have a capital expenditure programme of $160m and we will be drilling about 42 new wells. The secret to our success is that we keep very tight control of costs."

The company's oilfields have proven reserves of 115 million barrels and it is producing 10,000 barrels of oil a day.

Burren made an operating profit of £9.3m in the six months to 30 June on a turnover of £18.6m compared with an operating profit of £9.2m and a turnover of £37.5m for the whole of 2002. The company was started by Mr O'Sullivan in 1994 and its float is being organised and underwritten by the broker Seymour Pierce.

Burren said that it is planning to accelerate its existing exploration and development programmes in both the Caspian and the Congo as part of its capital expenditure programme.