- Lansdowne Oil & Gas [LON:LOGP] and Providence Resources [LON:PVR] were the sector's joint top risers - both up more than 33.3% in late trading - after an update on their licences in the Celtic Sea offshore the south coast of Ireland.

Providence said that despite the difficult operating environment it has continued to progress its activities across its portfolio of assets in the Celtic Sea basins.

"The Barryroe farm out remains our key focus and whilst we are not yet in a position to confirm the structure of a transaction, we continue to work to that end," said CEO Tony O'Reilly in a statement.

"In that regard, the most recent cost dynamics illustrate the highly competitive new cost environment for drilling.

"Whilst our priority remains firmly fixed on appraising and subsequently developing the more extensive main Basal Wealden Barryroe oil resources, the recent OPL 1 option agreement has brought the overlying C-Sand gas potential very much into focus.

"Given the proximity of the existing nearby gas infrastructure and available capacity, we have commenced discussions with the owners of the existing infrastructure as to whether part or all of their infrastructure could play a role in accelerating any development of the Barryroe gas resources.

"Whilst Helvick and Dunmore are relatively small oil accumulations, the work completed to date has illustrated that the fields could be commercially developed due to both the highly productive nature of the main reservoir intervals as well as the current low development CAPEX.

"The granting of the Lease Undertakings, together with the staged farm-in by MFDevCo, are the next logical pre-development steps. Finally, the launch of the Silverback farm out process follows on from sub-surface work carried out by Providence over the past 12 months.

"Working with our respective partners, we look forward to advancing these assets towards commercialisation."

Lansdowne's detailed update said that while Barryroe farm-out discussions continued with third parties, a drilling proposal from an alliance of contractors under a risk-sharing model was also under consideration:

* Alliance consists of a major rig operator, drilling management and well service company

* Latest cost estimate for the drilling of an appraisal well is c. GBP16 million

- Evaluation of the upper gas bearing C-Sand reservoir at Barryroe confirms significant productivity and resource potential across the eastern portion of SEL 1/11 & the southern portion of OPL 1

* This reservoir interval was tested in the 48/24-10z well, c. 45 ft above the main Barryroe basal Wealden A-Sand oil reservoir.

* Modelled vertical well initial production rates of up to c.30 MMSCFGD

* GIIP of up to c.400 BSCF

- Discussions have commenced and technical evaluation is ongoing regarding potential development synergies with owners of existing gas production infrastructure

Helvick oil discovery, North Celtic Sea Basin (Lansdowne 9%, Providence 72.5%, operator):

- 2 year Lease Undertaking granted by the Irish government with effect from 1st March 2016 to allow for evaluation of low cost development options

- As previously announced the award of the Lease Undertaking triggers a staged 50% farm-in by Marginal Field Development Company Limited (formerly known as ABT Oil & Gas Limited ) with an agreed work programme for staged equity participation:

* 10% initial working interest assignment to MFDevCo, subject to Ministerial consent;

* Further equity assignment (up to 40%) based on agreed work programme and receipt of Petroleum Lease and approval of Plan of Development

- In 2010, Providence entered into an agreement to assign a 10% working interest in the Helvick Field to Lansdowne Celtic Sea Limited. Now that the Lease Undertaking has been awarded, this assignment can be completed and with the initial phase farm-in by MFDevco, Lansdowne will be assigned a 9% interest, subject to Ministerial consent.

- Assuming completion of all phases of the farm-in by MFDevCo, and the completion of the assignment to Lansdowne, the revised equity ownership for Helvick would be MFDevCo (50.0%), Providence (31.2%), Atlantic Petroleum (9.2%), Lansdowne (5.0%) & Sosina Exploration (4.6%)

* * *

Amerisur Resources [LON:AMER] has received all approvals for the project to connect the Platanillo field in Colombia with the oil pipeline system in Ecuador, named Oleoducto Binacional Amerisur.

The company says it is pleased to announce the award by the Ecuadorian Ministry of the Environment of the environmental licence to Petroamazonas EP, operator of the Amazonas Oil Pipeline System (Red de Oleoductos Amazonas - RODA) for the construction and operation of the 3.9 km of 10.8" (nominal) pipeline from the VHR-20 production location to the landfall of the horizontally drilled under river crossing from Colombia. Additionally the license approves the construction and operation of the under river crossing within Ecuadorian territory.

The drilling of the under river connection in Colombian territory is approved under a license held by Amerisur Exploracion Colombia Ltda. Amerisur says it has begun the drilling of the under river crossing and the installation of the under river pipeline. These operations are expected to take approximately 35 days.

Concurrently, the company and its contractors have commenced the construction, corrosion proofing, testing and burial of the line from the VHR-20 location to the point of landfall of the under river crossing. The civil works at the OBA reception station within the VHR facilities are complete and the 5,000bbl reception tank is completed, tested and calibrated. The other piping and instrumentation is 72% completed. In Platanillo, the export equipment is moving to site and will be positioned once the drilling of the under river crossing is completed. The company expects to perform operational testing and commissioning of the pipeline, measurement and export pumping systems during March, followed thereafter by first transport. An update presentation on the OBA operations is available on the company website,

Chief executive John Wardle said: "The delivery of the OBA has been a key strategic priority for the Company and I am delighted to announce that all of the approvals have now been granted to allow us to complete its construction, which is expected to take approximately 35 days. This is a transformational project for the Company and I look forward to updating shareholders following testing of the pipeline."

* * *

Victoria Oil and Gas [LON:VOG] has reached an agreement with Glencore Exploration Cameroon Ltd and Afex Global Ltd on the Matanda Block, a large hydrocarbon licence in Cameroon.

The terms of this agreement include the assignment by Glencore Cameroon of its 75% participating interest in the Matanda Production Sharing Contract (PSC) to VOG, and VOG becoming Matanda's operator through its 100% owned subsidiary, Gaz Du Cameroun Matanda S.A. (GDC Matanda).

As consideration for the assignment, VOG or its subsidiaries will assume responsibility for carrying out a Work Programme to be agreed by the Government of Cameroon.

The assignment is conditional on this being agreed and other customary approvals from the Government of Cameroon.

Matanda covers an area of approximately 1,235 square kilometres and is highly prospective for significant natural gas and gas condensate resources.

* * *

Management Resource Solutions [LON:MRS] has announced the formal appointment of Christopher Berkefeld, aged 61, as an independent non-executive director as previously notified in the admission document in relation to the acquisition of Bachmann Plant Hire Pty. Ltd on 11 January.

His background is in industrial, waste and mining services in Australia along with engineering and heavy transportation services in Europe and Asia.

He was with services company Brambles for 25 years and ran the waste management and industrial services businesses upon their sale to a private equity group in 2006.

He will sit on both the audit and remuneration committees of the company.

* * *

Xcite Energy [LON:XEL] said that following talks with the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA), the Secretary of State for the Department of Energy and Climate Change has extended the P.1078 licence containing the Bentley field until 30 June 2017.

This licence extension is expected to assist Xcite Energy Resources plc's ("XER", the Company's wholly owned subsidiary) current process to secure the financing required for the approval of its Bentley Field Development Plan and to repay its outstanding senior secured bonds, which are due for repayment by 30 June 2016.

* * *

PetroNeft [LON:PTR] has confirmed that has received a proposal from Natlata Partners to call an extraordinary general meeting to remove the executive directors and non-executive chairman.

The EGM is being sought to remove chairman David Golder, chief executive Dennis Francis, vice-president, general legal counsel David Sanders and chief financial officer Paul Dowling and appoint three new directors: Anthony Sacca, David Sturt and Maxim Korobov. The company is taking appropriate advice and further announcements will be made in due course.

* * *

Petroceltic International [LON:PCI] has completed the sale of certain exploration licences in Egypt to its JV partner Edison International S.p.A.

On 23 December, the Company announced that it had reached an agreement to sell its interests in the North Thekah, North Port Fouad and South Idku exploration licenses to Edison for a cash consideration of US$9.5 million, after working capital adjustments of approximately $5.8 million.

Following Government approvals and the waiver of pre-emption rights held by the Egyptian Natural Gas Holding Company ("EGAS"), the transaction has now formally completed and funds have been received.

* * *

Tullow Oil [LON:TLW] has informed the Government of Ghana and its Partners of a change to operating procedures at the Jubilee field FPSO.

Following a recent inspection of the turret area of the Jubilee Floating Production Storage and Offtake vessel (FPSO), by SOFEC, the original turret manufacturer, a potential issue was identified with the turret bearing.

As a precautionary measure, additional operating procedures to monitor the turret bearing and reduce the degree of rotation of the vessel are being put in place.

SOFEC will now undertake further offshore examinations and Tullow will work with SOFEC to determine what further measures will be required. Oil production and gas export is continuing as normal.

At 4:09pm:

[LON:AMER] Amerisur Resources PLC share price was +2.75p at 27p

[LON:AUR] Aurum Mining PLC share price was 0p at 0.95p

[LON:BOR] Borders Southern Petroleum PLC share price was +0.01p at 2.06p

[LON:CHAR] Chariot Oil Gas Ltd share price was -0.13p at 5.25p

[LON:ENQ] EnQuest Plc share price was 0p at 14.75p

[LON:GKP] Gulf Keystone Petroleum share price was +0.63p at 15.88p

[LON:GPX] Gulfsands Petroleum PLC share price was 0p at 3.25p

[LON:INDI] Indus Gas Ltd share price was +10.63p at 135.13p

[LON:LOGP] Lansdowne Oil Gas PLC share price was +0.5p at 2p

[LON:MRS] Management Resource Solutions Plc share price was +1p at 21p

[LON:PET] Petrel Resources PLC share price was 0p at 2.88p

[LON:PVR] Providence Resources PLC share price was +3.75p at 15p

[LON:RKH] Rockhopper Exploration PLC share price was +0.75p at 27p

[LON:RPT] Regal Petroleum PLC share price was -0.14p at 2.61p

[LON:VOG] Victoria Oil Gas PLC share price was +3.76p at 40.88p

[LON:XEL] Xcite Energy Ltd share price was +0.13p at 12.5p

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