In the third quarter of 2008, Manas Petroleum Corp. intends to reach a major milestone in its history with the commencement of drilling activity on licensed land in which it has an interest. South Petroleum, the venture between Manas and Santos Limited, expects to drill a 'shallow' (2000m) exploration well in the Kyrgyz Republic to be followed by a second exploration well in the fourth quarter of 2008 and a 'deep' (over 4000m) well planned for 2009. Manas expects to commence drilling in Albania and Chile in 2009.
Manas considers its license acquisition and farming stage to be finalized. The licenses in Chile (Geopark) and Kyrgyz Republic (Santos) are being Farmed Out and for the Tajikistan license Manas signed an option farmin agreement with Santos with limited cost to Manas. Therefore the Manas's management will now focus its activities on operating the license areas in Albania and Mongolia. Manas has reached this milestone within the expected time and budgeted costs and will move from an exploration stage into a development stage.
Manas has a 25% interest in South Petroleum, its venture with Santos Limited. South Petroleum has exploration licenses in the Kyrgyz Republic. To date, South Petroleum has acquired 226km of 2D seismic out of a projected total of 1500km on those licenses.
Based on reprocessed seismic and newly acquired geologic and geophysical information, South Petroleum has made preliminary structural maps for leads and prospects in all license areas. South Petroleum is planning to drill two shallow wells in 2008 and deeps wells in 2009 as part of the committed work program. The shallow prospects, East Chongara and North Ayzar, are both located in the vicinity of producing fields and associated infrastructure (Chongara Gal'cha and Tuzluk Oil and Gas fields, respectively). The geoscience team of Manas's office in Kyrgyz Republic is continuing to be an active partner to the South Petroleum and Santos teams.
Manas has a 90% interest in Somon Oil which has exploration licenses in Tajikistan. Somon Oil has performed 123km of 2-D seismic acquisition on those licenses. The work is contracted to the local company "Saratovneftegeofizika". Discussions to sign a farm out agreement with Santos for those licenses are underway.
Manas has four licenses in Albania. The Tirana, Albania office finalized the design of a 400km 2-D seismic program to refine nine identified prospects in the Albanian fold thrust belt targeting the prolific Ionian play.
This program is based on 870km of reprocessed seismic lines previously acquired by Shell, Occidental Petroleum and Coparex. In May 2008, Denver based GeoConcept completed a reprocessing program. An environmental impact assessment, a pre-requisite to perform seismic exploration work, is finished by the environmental consulting firm Walsh and was distributed to various authorities for approvals. Manas expects that in the coming weeks the Albanian Ministry of Environment and Forestry will approve Manas's proposed measures related to environmental impact. Following that approval, the seismic program will start immediately. This work is contracted to the Geological Institute of Israel, and Manas expects it to start in August 2008 with 180km of 2-D seismic using vibroseize. The remaining 220km of 2-D seismic will be realized in 2009 using explosives.
All necessary local preparations for the seismic program is currently managed by the newly hired Manager for Albania, Malfor Nuri (former OMV General Manager Albania).
Representatives of Manas and Independent Petroleum Resources ("IPR"), Manas's 50% partner in Chile, signed on April 29, 2008 a contract for Exploration and Exploitation for the Tranquillo Block in Chile. The signing ceremony in Puntas Arenas, Chile was chaired by the Chilean President Mrs. Bachelet. The contract must still be ratified by the Chilean Mining Ministry.
Manas and IPR farmed out their interest in April 2008 and each reduced their share to a 20% carried interest. 30% of the project was farmed out to each Geopark (the only private held operating petroleum company in Chile) and Pluspetrol. Geopark, a highly successful operator in the Magallanes Basin, has recently discovered two gas fields using its own rigs close to Manas's Tranquillo block. After ratification by the Chilean Mining Ministry, Geopark will be the dedicated operator. The timing for the use of Geopark's rigs for drilling of exploration wells in Tranquillo will be decided in the near future.
Manas Petroleum is currently in the process of obtaining a license for block 23 in the south-eastern part of Mongolia. As Manas expects that this administrative process will be finalized in the coming months, preparations for sub-aerial geological works have commenced.