The license, covering Block 31/8, is Aker Exploration's second license on the NCS and the first direct award. E.ON Ruhrgas is the field operator, with a 50% interest. Rocksource is the third partner with a 35% interest. Block 31/8 is adjacent to the producing Troll field.
"We are very satisfied with this award. It confirms the attractiveness of our business model towards the authorities and oil companies," said Aker Exploration President and CEO Bard Johansen. "This is an interesting award for Aker Exploration. We will immediately apply our geological and reservoir know-how, and we have access to a latest generation rig when a drilling decision is to be made."
In December 2006, Aker Exploration entered into an agreement with Pertra to acquire 15 percent of license PL 321 in the Froya region of the Norwegian Sea, between the Ormen Lange and Njord fields. In this rig-for-oil swap, Aker Exploration will provide a drilling rig and cover part of Pertra's drilling costs.
Aker Exploration has received favorable feedback from oil companies, public authorities, and investors regarding the company's business model.
"Aker Exploration will continue to participate actively in future licensing rounds," Johansen noted."
Aker Exploration has secured a long-term contract for Aker Drilling's sixth-generation (Aker H-6e) drilling rig. The semi-submersible drilling platform is specially designed for drilling in environmentally sensitive areas and for operations in the northern part of the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea. Aker Exploration raised NOK 1.37 billion via equity and convertible bonds issues in December 2006.
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