Chariot provided an update with regard to its drill rig contract negotiations. As reported in the Interim statement on October 24, 2011, the Company has been aggressively pursuing various rig options for drilling its Tapir South prospect (located in Northern Block 1811 A offshore Namibia), which included an option that would have enabled the well to spud prior to the 2011 year end.
As Chariot noted previously, the market for deepwater rigs has tightened markedly, making it more challenging to secure an appropriate rig to carry out a one-well program in Namibia without paying a significant premium.
As mentioned in the Interim statement, Chariot's Tapir South prospect is drill ready - all long lead items have been delivered, all service contracts signed, the support base secured and the drill permit granted. However, the rig anticipated to be available for the 4Q 2011 spud has been contracted by another operator for a longer program. As a result of this change in program the rig will no longer be coming into the area in the requisite time-frame.
The Company is in active negotiations regarding a number of other available rigs and now expects to spud the Tapir South exploration well in 2Q 2012. This timing is subject to ongoing negotiations and further to a rig contract being formally signed, the Company will update the market with the anticipated spud date.
Paul Welch, Chief Executive of Chariot Oil and Gas, said, "Whilst it is disappointing not to have secured a rig to drill Tapir South this year, we continue to negotiate other options at commercially attractive rates. The rig market is tight but also very dynamic and whilst we are looking to drill as soon as possible next year, we need to manage this to optimize our drilling program going forward.
"We are looking forward to 2012 which should be a pivotal year for Chariot with an exploration well in each of our Northern and Southern blocks expected, plus the results of the 3D seismic survey currently underway on our Central blocks. We continue to pursue our longer term strategy of drilling 4-5 wells through to end 2013 and will report on further progress as soon as possible."
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