Venture Production plc, the Aberdeen headquartered UK independent oil and gas production company, has agreed to farm-in to an exploration well on the 58 billion cubic feet ("Bcf") Whitbeck gas prospect in Block 110/3b in the East Irish Sea.
The Whitbeck prospect is adjacent to the producing Bains field and north west of the Marram discovery that Venture intends to appraise within the next two years. It is located 12km north-east of the main South Morecambe platform which provides a potential export route for discovered gas. The estimated geological chance of success is 75% and is a well defined fault-block bound structure along strike from Bains. Block 110/3b was awarded to Reach Exploration in the 24th Licensing Round, the first such round in the East Irish Sea since 1999. Venture has agreed to fund 100% of the cost of the exploration well in return for a 70% interest in the block. Reach will hold the remaining 30% and Venture has also agreed to make a payment with respect to historic costs incurred in evaluating the Whitbeck prospect and two other leads on the same acreage.
If successful, Whitbeck would be expected to commence producing gas at a rate of around 50 million cubic feet per day ("MMcfpd"), similar to that seen when Bains was brought into production in 2002.
Commenting on the news, Mike Wagstaff, Chief Executive, said, "This is the sixth deal we have announced so far in 2008 in what is already proving to be a vibrant market for asset acquisitions. Whitbeck adds a low risk prospect to our East Irish Sea position and we will look to add the exploration well into the rig campaign that we are developing to encompass the Marram appraisal well."
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