Fledgling oil firm i3 Energy saw its pre-tax losses widen in 2017, as it ramps up efforts towards its North Sea Liberator development.
Pre-tax losses for the year were £2.9million, up from £404,000 in 2016.
The London-listed firm said it remains focussed on the safe and efficient development of the field in the outer Moray Firth, with first oil planned for next year.
I3 confirmed it has received non-binding terms from UK lenders for an £18.8million credit facility to fund Liberator.
The field is thought to hold up to 11.7million barrels of oil equivalent.
Last week, i3 secured another North Sea block in the 30th offshore licensing round, extending Liberator.
A larger field development plan is to be submitted to the Oil and Gas Authority, allowing for an “optimised drill centre” for wells to be extended into Liberator West.
The company said its focus for the remainder of 2018 will be targeting first oil for Liberator next year.
It is also seeking joint venture partnerships.
CEO Neill Carson said: “”2017 has been a year in which solid foundations were laid for the future success of i3 Energy. Our team has deepened its understanding of the high-quality nature of our 100% owned and operated Liberator oil discovery and we remain focused on the advancement of this asset.
“The strong technical underpinning of Liberator combined with the deliverability of the project has attracted investment from private and institutional investors, in addition to drawing meaningful interest from senior lenders and potential joint venture partners.
“We look forward to the remainder of 2018 with excitement as we aim to unlock Liberator’s full potential while seeking out target acquisitions from which we can extract shareholder value.”