- Europa Oil & Gas's [LON:EOG] shares were down in late trading despite chief executive Hugh Mackay highlighting significant progress across the asset base this year and anticipating a step up in existing UK onshore output in 2016 in a statement at the annual general meeting.

He said: "Europa has a portfolio of multi-stage projects in three areas of interest: onshore UK; offshore Ireland; and onshore France. Our stated objective is to become an upper quartile oil and gas company on AIM by proving up the 45 million boe net mean risked & diluted resources we have identified on our licences, and in the process generate substantial value for our shareholders. 2015 saw significant progress made across our asset base and as a result the year ahead should see a step up in both our existing UK onshore production and our asset backing in terms of proven reserves, while at the same time we will continue to build our portfolio of exploration opportunities.

“The most advanced of our exploration and development assets is the Wressle discovery on Licence PEDL 180 in East Lincolnshire where first oil is targeted for H2 2016, subject to receipt of all required consents. Reservoir engineering analysis indicates up to 500 bopd gross could be recovered from the Ashover Grit, one of four productive payzones at Wressle. With a 33% interest, this has the potential to more than double our existing production, which for the year ended 31 July 2015 averaged 141 boepd and generated revenues of £2.2 million. Wressle therefore has the potential to provide us with a cash generative platform from which to grow and prove up our prospect inventory.

“We have no shortage of exciting prospects in our existing portfolio. In the UK, further exploration potential exists on the trend which runs between Wressle and our producing Crosby Warren field. Reprocessing of existing seismic data has been completed and may lead to new drill candidates emerging. In the Weald Basin, following receipt of planning approval, we will discharge the planning conditions and obtain EA permits to drill an exploration well on the Holmwood prospect next winter (subject to farmdown / funding). With gross mean un-risked prospective resources of 5.6 million barrels of oil, as estimated in a CPR published in June 2012, Holmwood would be the UK’s fifth largest onshore field were the mean resources case to be proved by drilling success. In tandem with advancing our existing licences up the development curve, we are also actively looking to significantly grow our portfolio through our participation in the latest UK onshore licencing round, the results of which are expected in the near term.

“Success onshore UK is transformational in terms of cash flow. Success offshore Ireland would be a company maker. We currently hold two licences, FEL 2/13 and FEL 3/13, in the South Porcupine Basin, an emerging exploration hotspot. Based on 2,565 km2 of state of the art 3-D seismic, a CPR on FEL 3/13 undertaken by ERC Equipoise estimated audited resources of 1.5 billion barrels of oil equivalent across three prospects with an audited value of US$7 billion for a 100% non-carried interest. This is more than 600 times our market cap or US$1.1 billion on a risked basis, 100 times our market cap. With numbers like these, Ireland represents our home run. In addition Europa has estimated unaudited gross mean unrisked prospective resources of 595 million boepd across four prospects in FEL 2/13.

“Following the withdrawal of our partner Kosmos from Ireland, we are in the process of transferring 100% equity and operatorship of the licences back to Europa. We intend to secure a new partner for our Irish licences to fund what could be a playmaking well at the earliest possible date and to take advantage of dramatically lower rig rates, which have halved over the past year. Our data room opens on 11 January 2016, and already both January and February are almost fully booked. The response we are getting from major and mid-cap companies is highly encouraging. Combined with the record number of applications in the latest Irish Atlantic Margin Licensing Round in which Europa lodged multiple applications, we clearly are not alone in recognising the enormous potential of the South Porcupine Basin.

“Onshore France, we successfully farmed out an 80% interest in and operatorship of the Tarbes permit to Vermilion, leaving Europa with 20% equity in the licence and a carry on a €4.65 million work programme, which may include drilling a new well and/or workover. Being the largest producer onshore France, Vermilion is the perfect partner for us. With two previously drilled wells on the permit, both of which produced oil, Tarbes is potentially a low risk project and we look forward to receiving a prospect inventory from Vermilion in 2016 in advance of confirmation of a forward work programme. Additionally we are continuing to farm out our Bearn des Gaves permit, also in France.

“While forecasting the future direction of oil prices is a thankless task, we have taken swift action to rebase the Company to the lower oil price environment. Already we have reduced our cost base by 20% over the course of the year. Thanks to the combination of lower costs and Wressle potentially coming on stream at up to 500 bopd gross in H2 2016, the Board is highly confident that Europa’s move up the AIM oil and gas sector rankings remains on track.â€

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Tower Resources [LON:TRP] has issued 42,676,920 new ordinary shares at 0.1791p as part payment for services provided in the third quarter of 2015 and to certain directors in lieu of fees. The issue price represents the average of the closing share price for the calendar quarter ending 30 September.

A total of 39,187,248 New Ordinary Shares have today been issued to P.D.F Limited, the company's outsourced exploration department (OExD), a company owned by Dr. Mark Enfield, managing director, in part payment for services for the period covering 1 July to 30 September.

P.D.F Limited now holds a total of 182,051,292 ordinary shares, including 17,350,438 ordinary shares in Tower owned by Enfield, representing a combined interest of 2.7% of the issued share capital.

Tower also said a total of 3,489,672 new ordinary shares had been issued to certain directors in lieu of fees foregone in the third quarter of 2015.

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Tullow Oil [LON:TLW] executive director and company secretary Graham Martin will retire at the group's next annual general meeting, which is expected to be held on 28 April.

Martin will step down as company secretary with effect from 1 January and be succeeded by Kevin Massie, currently corporate counsel and deputy company secretary. Non-executive chairman Simon Thompson said: "Graham has been a director of Tullow for the past 18 years and has made an outstanding contribution to the Group. We wish him every success and happiness in his well-earned retirement. We also congratulate Kevin Massie on his promotion to company Secretary and wish him well as he takes up his new duties."

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The sector's biggest riser was Nighthawk Energy [LON:HAWK] - up by 12.2% in late trading - while the biggest faller was Iofina [LON:IOF] - down by more than 13.3%.

At 4:09pm:

[LON:AQP] Aquarius Platinum Ltd share price was 0p at 10.75p

[LON:BEM] Beowulf Mining PLC share price was -0.35p at 4.9p

[LON:BKY] Berkeley Resources Ltd share price was 0p at 23.75p

[LON:CEY] Centamin PLC share price was +0.78p at 61.38p

[LON:CHL] Churchill Mining PLC share price was +0.25p at 17.5p

[LON:CZA] Coal of Africa Ltd share price was -0.02p at 2.68p

[LON:EOG] Europa Oil Gas Holdings PLC share price was -0.25p at 3p

[LON:FDI] Firestone Diamonds PLC share price was 0p at 17.25p

[LON:FRES] Fresnillo PLC share price was -4.25p at 664.25p

[LON:GEMD] Gem Diamonds Ltd share price was -4.5p at 97p

[LON:HAWK] Nighthawk Energy PLC share price was +0.13p at 1.15p

[LON:HOC] Hochschild Mining PLC share price was -0.75p at 50p

[LON:IOF] Iofina PLC share price was -1.46p at 9.54p

[LON:KMR] Kenmare Resources PLC share price was -0.01p at 0.54p

[LON:TLW] Tullow Oil PLC share price was +7.2p at 178.5p

[LON:TRP] Tower Resources PLC share price was 0p at 0.1p

[LON:VED] Vedanta Resources PLC share price was -0.35p at 322.75p

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