Venture Production Begins New Southern North Sea Drilling Program

Venture Production reports that the Noble Julie Robertson jackup has arrived on contract to begin a two year drilling campaign in the southern North Sea.

The drilling campaign covers a balanced mix of development, appraisal and lower risk exploration drilling, principally in and around Venture's 'A' Fields gas production hub. The development and appraisal of two of the company's existing discoveries is expected to bring over 150 Bcf of current undeveloped gas reserves on stream by 2008. In addition, the drilling campaign will target approximately 300 Bcf of additional gas initially in place ('GIIP') through four or five relatively low risk exploration wells.

The first drilling activity will be an appraisal well to confirm reservoir deliverability from the Ensign discovery. Venture holds an effective 50% economic interest in Ensign following the recent sale of an interest to North Sea Gas Partners ('NSGP'). This ninety day appraisal well is expected to precede the submission of a full Field Development Plan ('FDP') with first gas anticipated in 2008.

The NJR will then drill a sidetrack of the Amanda discovery well to further appraise the reservoir ahead of field development. The rig will go on to drill the nearby Agatha exploration well, which is anticipated to be completed by mid-2007. In either case, if successful, the wells will be tied back to the existing Alison subsea production manifold with first production potentially in Q4 2007. As a result of the recently announced farm-out to NSGP, Venture has an effective economic interest of 66.67% in both Amanda and Agatha but its contribution to drilling costs will be restricted to 33.33%.

Following these activities the rig will move on to target the Channon, Adele and Block 48/15b exploration wells. These are lower risk opportunities within Venture's asset portfolio each well is located close to existing production infrastructure.

Finally, the rig will return to drill and complete the Ensign production wells ahead of producing first gas in 2008.

Commenting on the news, Mike Wagstaff, Chief Executive of Venture said:

'Given delays with previous operators and the tight market for drilling equipment, we have had to wait several months longer than anticipated for this rig to arrive. However, the Noble Julie Robertson is on long-term contract to Venture now and we are excited about the drilling programme ahead. This also marks the start of a five year partnership with Noble Corporation during which we have contracts to utilize four of Noble's mobile drilling units. The next two years will see us both continue to develop our existing reserves but also look to add new gas through a series of low risk exploration wells, each of which can be readily tied into existing infrastructure if successful. This continued processing and replenishment of our deep development inventory underpins Venture's sustainable growth.'

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