INDEPENDENT Oil and Gas has said its focus on the North Sea has been vindicated after an expert report found a chunk of the company’s acreage could be worth around £320m.

London-based Independent said a study by the ERC Equipoise consultancy found the company’s portfolio of Southern North Sea fields off England held around 300 billion cubic feet gas reserves.

The cashflows from the fields could be worth £320 million in present value terms, taking account of the costs of bringing them onstream and likely future revenues.

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Independent had previously estimated the fields contained 34BCF reserves on the industry standard proved and probable basis. This includes finds that appear to be commercially viable.

The upgrade takes account of work Independent has done in recent months to increase understanding of the fields concerned and revise estimates of the likely development costs.

Independent recently acquired the dormant Thames Pipeline at nominal cost in a move it reckons will cut the cost of bringing the fields into production by £100m.

Chief executive Mark Routh said of the reserves upgrade: “This is a major landmark for our portfolio and clear vindication of our strategy of acquiring neglected and stranded assets at low cost, to be commercialised via our gas hub strategy using the Thames Pipeline export route.”

He said the increase in the amount of resources classified as reserves was a key step towards the company securing the funding required to develop the fields.

Independent also controls acreage containing the Skipper heavy oil find off Shetland. It is focusing activity on the Southern North Sea amid uncertainty about the commercial viability of Skipper.

In Independent’s interim results announcement last month Mr Routh said the £10m debt funding secured from the London Oil and Gas investment business in 2016 had ensured the firm had a stable financial base. The company said it could cut discretionary expenditure and reduce headcount to reduce financing requirements if required.