While many oil and gas companies are battening down the hatches, Empire Energy Group (ASX:EEG) is continuing its gas production operations in the US state of New York after it was ruled an essential service that is not subject to the stay at home order.

The company is the second largest producer of natural gas in the state, accounting for about 18 per cent of its total gas production.

It added that while US gas prices have experienced significant downward pressure in early 2020, reaching a multi-year low of $US1.60 ($2.60) per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) in March, over 80 per cent of its 2020 gas production is hedged with floor prices of $US2.50/Mcf.

Hedges are in place until the end of 2023 and the company has minimal direct exposure to oil prices, which have been hammered by the production war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.


Empire has also secured a waiver of existing and potential breaches caused by the low gas price to its debt facility with Macquarie Bank until December 31, 2020.

Separately, the company says it will determine the timing of drilling the Carpentaria-1 exploration well in the Northern Territory once it is confident of carrying out the drill program in a safe and cost-effective manner.

Meanwhile, 88 Energy (ASX:88E) has drilled the Charlie-1 appraisal well on Alaska’s famed North Slope to its total depth and logged all targets including the unconventional HRZ shale.

Results from the “Logging While Drilling” program appear to be consistent with the nearby Magluk-1 well that was drilled in 1991.

Magluk-1 encountered oil shows with elevated resistivity and mud gas readings over multiple horizons during drilling but was not tested due to complications towards the end of operations.

While Magluk-1 was drilled using vintage 2D seismic, 88 Energy used 3D seismic to help plan Charlie-1, which was drilled as an appraisal of the earlier well.

Significantly, the cost of drilling the well is being funded by UK company Premier Oil up to a cap of $US23m under a recent farm-out agreement.


On the renewables front, MPower (ASX:MPR) has landed a full design and construction contract worth over $4m from Astronergy Solar Australia.

The company will design and construct a 5 megawatt solar farm in South Australia.

The two companies are also working towards a separate contract for a second solar farm project that MPower had already started work on in January.


Mpower is targeting solar projects of this size due to the relative ease in connection to the grid. It previously commissioned two such solar farms in 2019 at Mannum and Port Pirie in South Australia.