ROC reports that an expanded 2004 drilling program is expected to be undertaken in PSCs A, B and C, offshore Mauritania, where two deepwater drilling vessels will start operations in August/September 2004, subject to a positive Final Investment Decision with regard to development of the Chinguetti Oil Field.
Earlier this year, ROC indicated that it expected to participate in the drilling of at least four exploration wells in deepwater offshore Mauritania during the latter part of 2004. ROC is now pleased to be able to confirm that an expanded 2004 drilling program is expected to be undertaken with two deepwater drilling vessels scheduled to commence operations in August/September 2004 subject to a Final Investment Decision regarding the development of the Chinguetti Oil Field which is expected during the current quarter. More specifically:
Woodside Petroleum Limited, the operator of the Joint Ventures, has recently publicly announced that the 2004 Mauritanian drilling campaign could involve up to 20 wells. Eleven of these wells will relate to the Chinguetti development and were already factored into ROC's share of the estimated development costs for the Chinguetti Oil Field as envisaged by the Prospectus. It is now expected that up to 11 exploration/appraisal wells will also be drilled during the second half of 2004/early 2005. The proposed program will include a number of appraisal wells on the Tiof/Tiof West oil discovery and possibly an appraisal well on the Banda oil and gas discovery. The details of this program may change subject to Joint Venture decisions and logistical considerations.
ROC expects that significant economies of scale will be achieved through the simultaneous use of two drilling vessels. ROC's incremental net cost for the exploration and appraisal program is well within the Company's funding capacity and estimates for ROC's total exploration expenditure set out in the Prospectus.