"The agreement with Hydro is another important demonstration that we are a petroleum and exploration company with a difference," says Aker Exploration's President and CEO Bard Johansen.
Under the agreement, Aker Exploration may provide an advanced drilling rig and cover Hydro's drilling expenses in exchange for fifty percent of Hydro's 60% ownership interest in the license. This gives Aker Exploration a 30% equity share in PL428.
The other PL 428 license partner is Wintershall (40 %). The license covers part of a block located northeast of the Draugen field in the Norwegian Sea.
Aker Exploration has been pre-qualified as a licensee on the Norwegian continental shelf, and has submitted an application to the Norwegian authorities for prequalification as an operator. Aker Exploration is well financed, with a NOK 3.2 billion capital base. The company has entered into a long-term drilling contract with Aker Drilling for deployment of the world's most advanced drilling rig, beginning in October 2008.
"We have built a solid foundation for our aggressive targeting of attractive field licenses," says Mr. Johansen.
Aker Exploration is targeting prospects in the northern regions of the North Sea, the Norwegian Sea, and the Barents Sea. The company has implemented comprehensive surveys to identify subsea hydrocarbon resources using both electromagnetic and seismic survey data.
"Through innovative use of technology, Aker Exploration will increase the likelihood of finding new oil and gas reserves," says Johansen.
The transaction with Hydro is subject to approval by the PL 428 partnership and the Norwegian regulatory authorities.
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