"We are accelerating Aker Exploration's original drilling schedule. Drilling of our first exploration well is now set for the first quarter of 2008. Our unique business model has resulted in this exciting new license interest in acreage where significant resources have already been identified,' says Aker Exploration's President and CEO Bard Johansen.
In the autumn of 2005, gas and condensate were discovered in exploration well 6605/8-1 in the Stetind prospect, located northwest of the Norne field in the Norwegian Sea. According to the Norwegian Petroleum Directorate, the discovery could potentially represent resources of some 180 million boe (barrels of oil equivalent).
Under the agreement with Chevron Norge AS, Aker Exploration will acquire half of Chevron's original 25% participation in PL283. As payment for its 12.5% ownership stake, Aker Exploration will carry Chevron Norge's license expenses for the remaining work obligations on PL283. Depending on the results of the second exploration well the license plan may call for the drilling of a third exploration well.
"The Stetind acquisition is aligned with our focus on attractive prospects in northern provinces of the Norwegian continental shelf. If second exploration well confirms the presence of recoverable resources, the Aker Barents rig could be deployed to drill the next well," says Mr. Johansen.
The PL 283 license partners subsequent to the agreement with Chevron Norge, are as follows: StatoilHydro, the license operator, 30%; Conoco Phillips Norge, 25%; Petoro 20%; Chevron Norge, 12.5%; and Aker Exploration, 12.5%. The agreement between Chevron Norge and Aker Exploration is subject to approval by Norwegian authorities and by the PL 283 license partners.
Aker Exploration now has ownership stakes in six licenses including this agreement with Chevron, five of which are in the Norwegian Sea.
Aker Exploration has applied to Norway's Ministry of Petroleum and Energy to be pre-qualified as an operator. Aker Exploration has a capital base of NOK 3.2 billion. The company has entered into a long-term drilling agreement with Aker Drilling for deployment of the world's largest and most advanced semi-submersible platform, Aker Barents, as of October 31, 2008. The company is conducting comprehensive electromagnetic Seabed Logging (SBL) and seismic surveys to select optimal drilling sites for locating new hydrocarbon resources.
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