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Red Flags at Night – IGAS misses Bowland shale in latest drill

By Nigel Somerville, the Deputy Sheriff of AIM | Tuesday 18 December 2018

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from ShareProphets). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

It is some time since I offered any comment on AIM-listed Igas (IGAS), following the near-demise of the shares long-predicted in these parts. But last night Igas drew attention to itself by offering up an Operational Update well after hours, at 5.43pm. Talk about no-one-is-watching o’clock! You just know it wasn’t good news…..and it wasn’t!

The update was regarding the drill at Tinker Lane in North Nottinghamshire which kicked off on 27 November. Now then: how to polish a turd…..

IGas announces that, following spudding of the well on 27 November 2018, it has reached the TD (total depth) of the TL-1 exploration well at Tinker Lane in North Nottinghamshire.

Nope, no bad news there….. 

This exploration well forms part of an integrated exploration and appraisal programme to better define the basin consisting of this margin sited well at Tinker Lane and a basin centred well at Springs Road.

Yes, yes, but what about the drill result?

The drilling operations were completed significantly ahead of schedule, largely as a result of improved drilling performance, following detailed analysis of our previous experience……

Yes, yes, but did you encounter anything?

….The well was drilled on prognosis and encountered a shale interval before penetrating the key Dinantian limestone geophysical marker…

Go on, get on with it….

……The shales encountered did not include the primary target, the Bowland Shale.

Oh. So it wasn’t there at all! Zero. Nadda. Rien. Nothing.

We will now conduct a comprehensive logging programme of the well, which will be crucial to understanding the geological setting and help to further refine our basin modelling.  The results from this well will further assist us in better defining the basin and has satisfied our work programme obligation on the licence.

…and a bit more turd-polishing to finish with.

Quite why this was not an announcement which could wait for the more usual 7am news round the next morning is not entirely clear to me  - except that at 5.43pm hardly anyone would see it. The problem is that they did: the shares are off by 14% so far this morning.

If Igas wants to repair any of the damage done under the Andrew “Piggy” Austin regime and a complete collapse in the share price as overleverage caught up with it, then dodgy bad news RNSs at 5.43pm is hardly showing any sign of it.  As things stand, at 76.2p the shares are now below the debt-for-equity reconstruction price.

As such, this is not a stock I would wish to own.

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