The offshore-onshore Kerkouane exploration permit is contiguous with Grove's 100 per cent owned Pantelleria permits in Italian waters. The Kerkouane Permit contains the undeveloped Dougga gas condensate discovery made by Shell in the early 1980's and lies adjacent to the Tazerka oilfield. Grove intends to evaluate this discovery and its development potential.
This strategic acquisition has increased Grove's "Sicily Channel Acreage" to an area of more than 8,000 square kilometers, resulting in one of the larger acreage positions in the region. The oil potential of the Pantelleria acreage was identified from Grove's 2005, 750 km 2D seismic program over the Pantelleria Concession, whereby a number of material prospects were identified, the largest being the Sambuca Prospect with a prospective resource best estimate of 230 Million Barrels.
Grove will be seeking farm in partners for the Sicily Channel Acreage now that the Permits have been ratified and approved by the authorities. In parallel Grove is in negotiations with drilling rig providers and expects to reach an agreement with a drilling contractor during the coming quarter. It was determined that farming out this acreage without a firm rig schedule was not in the best interest of Grove.
The Chorbane prospecting permit located in Tunisia's central coastal area lies immediately west of several producing onshore oil fields and is on trend with the producing offshore field Ashtart which contains 1 billion barrels of oil in place.
Grove will immediately start field operations with a GORE SORBER surface geochemistry survey. The results of this survey will enable Grove to prioritize prospects and to plan the 200 km 2D seismic program which will follow in Q4 of 2006.
Grove's work commitments are:
Kerkouane Permit - to drill one well to a depth of 2,700m.
Chorbane Permit – acquire 200 kilometers of 2D seismic
Grove is the contractor under the Permits and operates on behalf of Enterprise Tunisienne d'Activités Petrolieres ("ETAP"). Under the terms of the contracts with ETAP and the Tunisian Government, Grove will not pay income taxes, customs duties or value added tax on oil and gas equipment and is entitled to recover all of its capital and operating costs and share of profit based on a formula that favours Grove during the cost recovery period.
Grove has provided the Tunisian authorities with a US$1.5 million bank guarantee in respect of the Kerkouane permit and a US$0.5 million bank guarantee in respect of the Chorbane permit. The guarantees will be released as work commitments are fulfilled.
Wolfgang Zimmer, President, stated: "I am very pleased that we could obtain governmental approval and secure this highly prospective acreage for Grove. We have prepared for our initial work programs and will start field operations shortly."
Grove acquired these Permits because of their excellent locations– near existing oil and gas fields in proven hydrocarbon producing basins – along with Tunisia's favorable fiscal and permitting regimes. These factors make Tunisia one of the best places to explore for and produce oil and gas in North Africa."
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