Africa Oil provided an update on drilling operations related to the two-well exploration program in the Dharoor Valley Block, located in Puntland (Somalia).
Drilling locations have been selected over two robust prospects targeting gross best estimated prospective resources of over 300 million barrels each, based on internal estimates. A contract has been awarded to Sakson Drilling and Oil Services who will provide a 1,500 horse-power, top drive equipped rig. The majority of the drilling-related third party service contracts have been entered into and all outstanding service contracts are expected to be completed before the end of August.
The Company is actively engaged in sourcing drilling related materials and early stage logistics including drill site and ingress route construction. A contract has been signed with a water well drilling company and water well drilling will commence in early September. Mobilization of required personnel and equipment is planned to allow for spud of the Shabeel-1 well during the fourth quarter of this year.
The Puntland Government and Dharoor Valley communities are fully supportive of the drilling project and have ensured they will do all that they can to allow the project to move forward safely and expeditiously.
Please refer to the Company's press release dated August 11, 2011, detailing a proposed transaction whereby the Company will transfer its interests in the Puntland production sharing contracts to Denovo. Assuming completion of the transaction and related financing, it is anticipated the Company will own approximately 50% of Denovo. A private placement of CAD$40.9 million has been closed by Denovo subject to final TSX Venture Exchange approval of the transaction which will allow the new combined company to fully fund the upcoming two well program.
Keith Hill, Africa Oil's President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are very pleased to have signed a drilling rig contract and to have procured the required services to allow us to commence drilling operations in Puntland. With support from the local communities and Puntland Government, we are eager to drill the first exploration wells in Puntland in over 20 years, aimed at unlocking the resource potential of the area."
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