This is an attractive agreement for Aker Exploration. Obtaining an interest in this license is consistent with the company's business model, says Aker Exploration's President and CEO Bard Johansen.
Under the agreement, the operator, the independent oil company Pertra, will reduce its ownership interest in PL 321 from 40 percent to 25 percent and Aker Exploration will cover Petra's costs up to two wells in exchange for the 15-percent ownership interest. The other license partners are Talisman Production Norway (40 percent) and Norsk Hydro (20 percent).
The agreement with Pertra will provide Aker Exploration with its first license on the Norwegian Continental Shelf (NCS). Aker Exploration has been pre-qualified as an oil company by Norwegian authorities. Earlier in December 2006, Aker Exploration raised NOK 1.37 billion in equity and a convertible bond, and signed a long-term rig contract with Aker Drilling for exploration drilling on the NCS.
Oil companies, the authorities, and investors have responded favourably to Aker Exploration's business model. And we are off to a good start, says Bard Johansen.
Aker Exploration has assessed a number of licenses during the past year, especially in northern North Sea areas, the Norwegian Sea, and in the Barents Sea.
PL 321 comprises three blocks with several independent prospects, and potential to find significant amounts of oil. The blocks are west of Froya, between the Ormen Lange and Njord fields in the Norwegian Sea. A 3D seismic survey has been acquired in 2006. The survey data is currently being processed and a final drilling decision will be made in June 2007.
Aker Exploration will use a sixth-generation Aker H-6e drilling rig. The semi-submersible drilling platform has been specially designed for well drilling and operations in environmentally sensitive areas, such as Froya, says Aker Exploration's President and CEO Bard Johansen.
The transaction is subject to approval by the Norwegian authorities.
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