Robert Friedland, Executive Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ivanhoe Energy Inc. announced that the company has completed its previously announced acquisition of Talisman Energy Canada's 100% working interests in two leases (Leases 10 and 6) located in the heart of the Athabasca oilsands region in the Province of Alberta, Canada. Talisman Energy Canada is an affiliate of Talisman Energy Inc.
The total purchase price is C$90 million, of which an initial payment of C$22.5 million has been made from proceeds of an C$88 million private placement financing that closed on July 8th. The financing, consisting of C$3.00 special warrants and originally targeted at C$50 million, was increased to C$88 million due to significantly increased expressions of interest from institutional investors. The balance of the funds will be used for Ivanhoe Energy's planned development activities on the acquired oilsands leases and for general working capital purposes.
The acquisition of Lease 10 will provide the site for the first commercial application of Ivanhoe Energy's proprietary, HTL(TM) heavy-oil upgrading technology in a major, integrated heavy-oil project. Lease 10 has a relatively high level of delineation (four wells per section). It is believed to be a high-quality reservoir and an excellent candidate for thermal recovery production using the SAGD (steam-assisted gravity drainage) process. The Lease 10 reservoir characteristics are believed by Ivanhoe to be similar to those at Petro-Canada's 30,000-barrel-per-day MacKay River project, located nearby, across the Athabasca River. MacKay River is acknowledged to be one of the most successful and longest-producing SAGD projects in the Athabasca oil sands.
Lease 10 would be capable of producing between 30,000 and 50,000 barrels of oil per day, based on estimates by independent reservoir engineers Sproule Associates Limited. Based on the most recent evaluations conducted by Sproule, Lease 10 is estimated to contain, on a best-estimate basis, approximately 244 million barrels of contingent bitumen resources (with low and high estimates of approximately 188 million and 313 million barrels, respectively). The evaluation of Lease 10 has an effective date of August 31, 2007. Using Sproule's interpretation of net pay, Ivanhoe expects to encounter an average of 30 metres of continuous bitumen saturated sand within the initial development area.
Based on these contingent resource estimates, Ivanhoe Energy's acquisition price of C$90 million represents a price of approximately C$0.37 per barrel of contingent bitumen resource measured on a best-estimate basis, with a range of approximately C$0.29 per barrel on a high-estimate basis to approximately C$0.48 per barrel on a low-estimate basis.
Since Ivanhoe Energy's oilsands announcement on May 29th, the holder of the 25% working interest in Lease 50 has exercised its right of first refusal to acquire Talisman's 75% working interest in Lease 50 - a third lease that Ivanhoe was to acquire from Talisman. Lease 50 is a less-delineated asset located approximately 19 km southeast of Fort McMurray. Contingent bitumen resources attributable to Talisman's 75% working interest in Lease 50 were estimated by Sproule as of July 31, 2006, to be, on a best-estimate basis, approximately 50 million barrels. As a consequence, Ivanhoe Energy has proceeded to purchase Lease 10 and Lease 6 - and the total purchase price has decreased from C$105 million to C$90 million.
Lease 50 was considered by Ivanhoe to represent possible expansion potential. The reduced cost to Ivanhoe of acquiring its principal target, Lease 10, leaves Ivanhoe with additional cash resources to initiate the development of Lease 10 and also allows Ivanhoe to apply its resources to alternative expansion targets as appropriate.
Lease 6 is a small, undelineated, 680-acre block 1.6 km south of Lease 10.
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