88 Energy Limited (LON:88E) shares rocketed in late-afternoon trading on Monday, although the company said it is not aware of any specific reason for the increase.

The AIM-listed firm instead reiterated its announcement from March 11 that drilling has now begun on the Merlin-1 exploration well in the North Slope area of Alaska.

READ: 88 Energy confirms spud of Merlin exploration well in Alaska

In the announcement, the company detailed that initially the well will be drilled to 1,500 feet at which point surface casing and blow-out preventer will be installed. This is due to take a week, before drilling then resumes down to a maximum target depth of around 6,000 feet. That phase of drilling will last for three to five days.

The well will subsequently be flow tested, subject to the initial results from wireline logging. 88 Energy also noted that its contribution to Merlin’s costs is expected to rise to around US$4mln, from prior estimates of US$1.4mln, with the company putting the blame on delays associated with US President Biden’s Executive Order, which impacted permitting, along with adverse weather.

The company’s shares shot up 84.2% to 1.5p shortly before 3pm.

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