Cooper Energy Adds Acreage, Spreads Exposure in Otway Basin

Australia's oil and gas exploration and production firm Cooper Energy Limited announced Tuesday that it has entered into agreements which will give it a greater spread of exposure in the South Australian section of Penola Trough of the Otway Basin through the addition of two new permits at zero net cost to the company.

The transaction involves exchanges of equity with Beach Energy Limited that will result in Cooper Energy acquiring a 30 percent interest in PEL 494 and PRL 32, and reducing its equity in the adjoining PEL 495 from 65 percent to 30 percent.

The change in ownership structure has been agreed in advance of the drilling of two deep wells in the Penola Trough, which is considered to be prospective for unconventional oil and gas in the Sawpit and Casterton Formations.

Hector Gordon, Cooper Energy executive director - Exploration and Production said “the outcome of the transaction is that Cooper Energy will have improved its spread of risk and exposure to the promising Casterton shale oil and gas play in the Penola Trough from a 65 percent stake in one permit to 30 percent across 3 permits, at no additional net cost”.

Gordon said that common ownership structure across the 3 permits will facilitate efficient exploration decisions.

Cooper Energy and Beach Energy are planning to drill two wells, Jolly-1 (PEL 495), and Bungaloo-1 (PRL 32) targeting unconventional gas plays, commencing December 2013. Jolly-1 has a planned total depth of 13,353 feet (4,070 meters) and is expected to be the deepest petroleum well drilled in the Otway Basin to date. Beach Energy will operate all three permits.

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