- US onshore oil, gas and condensate explorer, developer and producer Empyrean Energy [LON:EME] was the sector's biggest faller after it confirmed it was no longer up for sale.

The board believes a continuation of the formal sale process announced in July will unnecessarily prolong shareholder uncertainty with no immediate prospect of a satisfactory outcome.

The company says it has conducted a thorough and exhaustive review through its advisers, Macquarie Capital and Cenkos Securities plc, and has been encouraged by the significant level of interest from, and engagement with, potential counterparties, as well as the receipt of a number of indicative proposals which the company has sought to clarify and finalise over recent months.

But it says the significant uncertainty caused by prevailing market conditions has resulted in no proposals being received to date which the board believes appropriately value either the Company or its assets or which it believes might lead to a transaction which could be completed in a reasonable period of time.

Specifically, the benchmark price for West Texas Intermediate crude oil has fallen by over 50% since the commencement of the process and, as widely reported, this has resulted in companies across the sector reducing capital expenditure and delaying investment decisions pending an improvement or stabilisation in underlying commodity pricing.

The company says the board remains focussed on maximising value for its shareholders and, having particular regard to the current lower oil price environment, it is confident in the on-going execution of its strategy as an independent company. The board believes that shareholder value is best maintained and enhanced through its continued participation in the project and through growing the company's asset base and production profile.

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Solo Oil [LON:SOLO] has raised £700,000 gross proceeds through the issue of 140m new shares at a price of 0.5p each. The shares were issued at a discount of about 5% to yesterday's closing mid-market price and represent about 2.7% of Solo's enlarged issued share capital.

"The funds from the Placing will be deployed as working capital in our active investments in both Tanzania and the UK and will permit us to move forward with the development of the discoveries we and our partners have made in the Ruvuma and Weald Basins," chairman Neil Ritson said.

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Tower Resources [LON:TRP] issued an update on drilling of the Badada-1 well on Block-2B, onshore Kenya.

Tower said it had received formal notification from Lion Petroleum Inc, the wholly-owned Kenya-based subsidiary of Taipan Resources Inc and operator of Block-2B regarding the status of the Badada-1 well as at 24:00 GMT on 3 February.

The Badada-1 well was spud at 14:00 GMT on 7 January and has been drilled to a total depth of 1,647 metres MDBRT (measured depth below the rotary table). A 13.375-inch casing has been successfully run to 1,644 metres MDRT and cemented in the 17.5-inch hole and the well is currently preparing to drill ahead with the 12.25-inch hole section to the next casing point which is expected to be at TD.

The well is planned to be drilled to a total depth of between 3,000 and 4,000 metres in order to test primary targets in Tertiary age reservoirs. The Operator expects the well to take up to 70 days from spud to complete.

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The sector's biggest risers were JKX Oil & Gas [LON:JKX] and TXO [LON:TXO] - up by more than 32.4% and over 27.2% in late trading.

At 3:52pm:

[LON:AUR] Aurum Mining PLC share price was 0p at 1.2p

[LON:BOR] Borders Southern Petroleum PLC share price was +0.01p at 5.88p

[LON:CHAR] Chariot Oil Gas Ltd share price was +0.21p at 8.16p

[LON:DGO] Dragon Oil PLC share price was -7.25p at 577.75p

[LON:EME] Empyrean Energy PLC share price was -0.75p at 5.25p

[LON:ENQ] EnQuest Plc share price was -2.5p at 37.5p

[LON:FOGL] Falkland Oil Gas Ltd share price was +1.25p at 28p

[LON:GKP] Gulf Keystone Petroleum share price was -1.12p at 52.88p

[LON:GPX] Gulfsands Petroleum PLC share price was +2p at 32p

[LON:INDI] Indus Gas Ltd share price was 0p at 135.5p

[LON:JKX] JKX Oil Gas PLC share price was +4.63p at 18.88p

[LON:PET] Petrel Resources PLC share price was -0.5p at 4.13p

[LON:RKH] Rockhopper Exploration PLC share price was -0.5p at 60.25p

[LON:RPT] Regal Petroleum PLC share price was +0.13p at 4.25p

[LON:SOLO] Solo Oil PLC share price was -0.03p at 0.5p

[LON:TRP] Tower Resources PLC share price was +0.03p at 0.5p

[LON:TXO] TXO PLC share price was +0.02p at 0.07p

[LON:XEL] Xcite Energy Ltd share price was -0.87p at 32.38p

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