Ithaca Energy mulls options for potential IPO

North Sea operator Ithaca Energy, a subsidiary of Israel’s Delek Group, is exploring options to optimize its capital structure, including a potential initial public offering (IPO). 

Ithaca Energy bought Chevron North Sea Limited (CNSL), Chevron’s subsidiary operating several UK North Sea fields, in November 2019. Through the acquisition, Ithaca has acquired interests in the Captain, Alba, Erskine, Alder, Britannia, Brodger, Callanish, Enochdhu, Elgin/Franklin, and Jade fields.

Following completion of the acquisition of CNSL and transition program in November 2019, Ithaca said on Monday that the key focus of the on-going business transformation program for the enlarged business over the coming months was centered on process simplification, operational efficiencies, and value creation.

The operational strategy of the company is to deliver a balanced blend of investment programs to sustain and enhance production through continued expansion of the Captain enhanced oil recovery (EOR) program, infill drilling, satellite field developments, and near-field exploration and appraisal activities.

With the significantly enhanced organic investment opportunity set provided by the CNSL acquisition, a core operational priority for 2020 involves the maturation of additional targets to further enhance long-term production and reserves.

Opportunities to augment the company’s existing portfolio and resource base remain a key component of the business plan, with a focus on potential strategic bolt-on acquisitions from which to leverage existing operating capabilities and experience, Ithaca said.

Potential IPO

In line with the corporate objectives of Ithaca’s parent company, the Delek Group, during 2020 the company anticipates exploring potential options to optimize its capital structure, including a potential initial public offering.

On a pro-forma basis, taking into account the CNSL acquisition from the transaction effective date of January 1, 2019, full year 2019 production averaged 75,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (boepd), 63% liquids.

Production in 2020 is forecast to average between 70,000 to 75,000 boepd, approximately 65% liquids. This range reflects the expected timing for completion of various infill drilling campaigns, start-up of the Vorlich field, the program of planned maintenance shutdowns across the portfolio and sensitivities associated with the timing and performance of these operational programs.

As part of a cyclical process, 2020 marks a year of significant planned maintenance shutdowns across the portfolio, the majority of which will impact production in the third quarter. Major shutdowns are taking place on the Captain field, the Erskine field, the Britannia Area and the FPF-1 floating production facility that serves the Greater Stella Area (GSA).

The shutdowns are driven by execution of routine platform activities (inspection, maintenance and asset life extension programs), export infrastructure maintenance activities and, in the case of the FPF-1, Vorlich field tie-in works.

Ithaca’s net debt at December 31, 2019, was $1.5 billion. The company’s debt facilities consist of a $1.65 billion reserves based lending facility plus $500 million senior unsecured notes.