Ithaca Buys North Sea Interests from Noble Energy

North Sea-focused junior Ithaca Energy announced Tuesday that it has agreed to buy two subsidiaries of U.S. oil firm Noble Energy for $38.5 million.

The acquisitions will give Ithaca an additional 12.89-percent in the Cook field and a 14-percent interest in the MacCulloch field. The transaction will see Ithaca increase its holding in Cook to 41.35 percent.

Ithaca expects the acquisition to result in net incremental production, predominantly oil, for the company of approximately 1,100 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2012. The two fields are also anticipated to increase the company's net proven and probable reserves by 3.4 million barrels of oil equivalent.

The Cook oil field, operated by Shell, lies in Block 21/20a in the Central North Sea. The field has been developed as a single well subsea tie-back to the Shell operated Anasuria floating production, storage and offloading vessel (FPSO), which serves as a host processing facility to several nearby fields, with oil exported from the FPSO via shuttle tankers and gas via pipeline to shore.

The MacCulloch oil field, currently operated by ConocoPhillips, lies in Blocks 15/24b in the Central North Sea. The field is producing from four subsea wells tied back to the North Sea Producer FPSO, with processed oil and gas exported via pipelines to shore.

In a company statement, Ithaca CEO Iain McKendrick commented:

"I am particularly pleased to be acquiring the interests in these fields, where we see large potential production and reserve upsides. These acquisitions represent highly accretive and quick pay-back additions to our growing production base. The company is cautiously optimistic of being able to add further asset acquisitions to its portfolio, given its efforts to continue driving forward the growth of the company."

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