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Ophir Energy Falls in London on Need for Exploration Funding

Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- Ophir Energy Plc, a U.K. explorer focusing on Africa, tumbled the most in almost three months in London trading because it needs cash for projects next year.

Ophir fell 5.2 percent to 551 pence, the biggest drop since Aug. 2. The company yesterday made a presentation to investors announcing plans to drill 15 wells next year. It plans to invest $650 million in projects, from $398 million expected this year.

The “biggest negative surprise: The size of 2013’s cash requirement, largely driven by bigger-than-expected program in Equatorial Guinea,” Laura Loppacher, an analyst at Jefferies International Ltd., said in a note. “With $200 million forecast year-end cash, this leaves them $450 million short.”

Chief Financial Officer Lisa Mitchell said yesterday the company plans to fill the gap by selling stakes in its fields as Ophir has received numerous offers without yet accepting any.

The company, based in London, said yesterday it may build a liquefied natural-gas plant in Equatorial Guinea. It also plans to explore and appraise fields in Tanzania, Gabon and Kenya.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eduard Gismatullin in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at

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