Great Artesian Gives All-clear for Growth

Peter Hopkins, Chairman of Great Artesian Oil and Gas Limited, said Tuesday's announcement by Drillsearch Energy Limited that it would not exercise its option to acquire the Beach Petroleum shareholding in Great Artesian was not unexpected in view of the premium involved. However, it removed the remaining area of uncertainty that has clouded the Company for the last few months.

'We are now able to focus 100% on active development of the great growth prospects that our Company has, with Beach Petroleum as our largest shareholder, a new managing director appointed yesterday and major new offshore exploration areas, also announced yesterday," Hopkins said.

Drillsearch reported Tuesday it would not proceed with exercising an option that it had to acquire the Beach stake of 19% in Great Artesian at $0.51 per share.

"Now that Great Artesian has a new managing director and the situation regarding the Drillsearch option has been resolved, we look forward to working closely with Beach Petroleum as our major shareholder and joint venture partner," Hopkins said.

Great Artesian announced yesterday that oil industry veteran Andrew Carroll had been appointed Managing Director and exploration manager, Chris Carty, had been appointed as Technical Director of the Company. Carroll has more than 30 year's experience in oil and gas with BP, Ampolex, Interoil Corporation and AGL Energy.

Great Artesian also announced it had been awarded further exploration licenses in the Gippsland Basin, making it the net largest offshore acreage holder in the Bass Strait with 8,297 sq km. It has acquired areas on the southern flank of the Basin, reasoning that oil and gas has migrated from the center of the main basin to the flank, where it is sealed by the overlying Lakes Entrance formation.

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