Ambitious exploration player Eco Atlantic has been forced to pull out of a $52 million deal that would have seen it acquire a Canadian minnow with a stake in promising acreage offshore Guyana.

Three months ago, Eco Atlantic — whose stock trades in both London and Toronto — struck a deal to buy JHI Associates which has a 17.5% stake in ExxonMobil’s Canje block where three unsuccessful probes have been drilled to date, even though the asset lies next door to the supermajor’s prolific Stabroek block.