Venture Successfull at Barbossa, Plans to Tie-Back

Venture Production plc announced that it has successfully sidetracked and tested well 47/9c-11x to appraise the Barbarossa gas field. Barbarossa is located in Block 47/9c in the southern North Sea on acreage operated and 90% owned by Venture.

Barbarossa was last drilled in 1982 by the 47/9b-4 well which encountered a 113 foot thick gas bearing Rotliegendes age reservoir. Subsequent reinterpretation work concluded that the original well bore was probably severely damaged while drilling and this restricted the test rates.

The vertical section of this new well (47/9c-11) was spudded by the Noble Julie Robertson jackup rig in February 2008 and, following confirmation of good quality Rotliegendes reservoir, a decision to sidetrack was taken in mid-April. This sidetrack has now been successfully drilled and completed and stabilized test rates in excess of pre-drill expectations were achieved. Rates of 40 million standard cubic feet per day gross were produced through a 96/64” choke with a tubing head pressure of over 1,000 psi.

The well will now be completed as the field production well with plans for the Barbarossa field to be developed as a subsea tie-back jointly with the nearby Channon discovery (Blocks 47/8c and 47/3h, Venture 54%, operator), which was tested at stabilized rates of up to 55 MMscfpd gross, with rates limited by well test equipment during the third quarter of 2007. Combined recoverable reserves from Channon and Barbarossa are 70 to 80 billion cubic feet net to Venture, with a combined well potential from both fields of circa 80 MMscfpd net to Venture.

A field development plan is in preparation and, subject to conclusion of ongoing discussions with host platform operators, first gas from the combined development is planned for 2009.  Initial production rates are dependant on available system capacity, which are also the subject of ongoing commercial discussions.

Mike Wagstaff, Chief Executive said, “Confirming a new near-term gas field development of this size is very good news not only for Venture, but also for the UK, as we strive to maximise recovery of our offshore gas reserves. We started acquiring our interests in Channon and Barbarossa in 2005 and, through a series of deals with both large and small North Sea players, created the option to drill and tie-back these two opportunities. With the outlook for gas prices having improved considerably since we drilled the Channon discovery well last year we now have a very attractive joint development lined up for delivery next year.”

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