Ithaca Energy Suspends Athena Well

Ithaca Energy says that well 14/18b-17 on the Company's Athena prospect is currently being suspended pending evaluation and possible sidetracking for use in the development of the wider Athena project after failing to encounter commercial hydrocarbons in the primary horizon. Well 14/18b-17 is the Company's third well on this prospect, the two previous wells having each successfully tested at rates of approximately 1,300bopd. The well was drilled by the Byford Dolphin semisub.

The 14/18-17 well was deviated from the main core of the Athena prospect and drilled to a depth of 9,406 feet TVDSS, aimed at evaluating a possible southern extension to the oil pool. The well penetrated the Lower Cretaceous Leek sands at 8,842 feet, 413 feet above the Athena oil water contact. However, although the Leek formation was found to be oil-bearing from LWD logs, it was of lower quality than is found in the Athena Reservoir and the well has been suspended pending evaluation and possible sidetracking and use in the Athena development scheme. Future drilling will focus on the core area of the Athena field. The next well proposed will target the Leek sands immediately north east of the discovery well, 14/18-7 and is likely to be drilled before the end of 2008.

Ithaca is operator of the Athena prospect, with 70% ownership of the asset. Ithaca's partners include EWE Aktiengesellschaft (20%) and Zeus Petroleum Limited (10%).

In addition, approval has been received from the regulatory authorities of the Environmental Impact Statement to develop the Athena field. This sanction is a pre-cursor to approval of the Field Development Plan which is currently under review by the government Department of Business, Environment and Regulatory Reform ('BERR').

Iain McKendrick, COO of Ithaca said: 'Although this well did not prove a viable production location we do have more certainty about the size and scope of the Athena field. We believe the results of the well will not affect the current development plan.'

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