SCDM Energy, the French natural gas firm owned by the billionaire Bouygues family, increased its stake in UK Oil & Gas Investments (Ukog) to more than five per cent last week.
Ukog, which is listed on London's Alternative Investment Market (Aim), saw its shares rocket after it discovered the so-called Gatwick Gusher in the Weald Basin two years ago. Located near Gatwick Airport, the site is said to hold billions of barrels of oil.
SCDM is controlled by the family that founded the Bouygues group, a large industrial corporation in France with a focus on construction, property and telecoms. It now owns a 5.03 per cent stake in Ukog.
Ukog's shares closed at 7.88p, up 1.94 per cent, on Friday, having risen from a price of around 1p in June. That brings the company's market capitalisation to £277m and means SCDM's five per cent stake is worth around £14m.
Analysts are still cautious on Ukog as its findings still reflect the potential amount of oil that can be drilled rather than what can definitely be recovered.
SCDM revealed its investment in Ukog at the same time as the company announced it had received all the regulatory permissions required for flow testing at its Broadford Bridge-1 exploration well in Sussex.