Oil and gas company Genesis Energy Holdings Limited and New Times Group Holdings Limited have jointly announced the signing of a legally binding memorandum of understanding with Empire Energy Corporation International and related parties on July 17, 2008 in respect of a proposed joint venture for oil and gas exploration business in Australia.
Pursuant to the MOU, Genesis Energy and New Times JV will extend to Empire Energy a loan of up to AUD5,000,000 for the granting of an option to enter into a joint venture agreement for the exploration and development of any oil and gas resources in a oil and gas field in Tasmania, Australia. Upon successful completion of due diligence, Genesis Energy and New Times JV may opt to enter into the joint venture agreement with Empire Energy and its subsidiaries with a further commitment of up to AUD40,000,000 for up to 50% equity interest of the Australian JV.
Empire Energy through a wholly-owned subsidiary holds a valid Tasmanian exploration license SEL 13/98 to September 2009, which covers 15,410 square kilometers and most of the prospective parts of the Tasmania Basin on the Australian island state of Tasmania. Empire Energy will proceed with the application with Tasmanian government for further extension of such license.
Empire Energy, through its wholly-owned subsidiary and its predecessors, have expended over AUD20 million on exploration onshore Tasmania and have completed 1,350 km of 2D seismic as well as substantial geochemistry and extensive gravity and magnetic surveys. Several stratigraphic wells have been drilled. According to the seismic survey results as well as other test information, Empire Energy has recently estimated that its 14 identified structures on SEL 13/98 may hold undiscovered prospective petroleum resources of between 535 million and 2.29 billion barrels, potentially between US$69 billion and US$298 billion of US$130 per barrel.
Terence Kong Siu-tim, Executive Director of Genesis Energy, said, "We are optimistic about the oil and gas exploration and exploitation business and the future prospect of the industry. The search for sources of energy among nations and enterprises is a global phenomenon. New Times owns strong financial background and professional technical team. Our partnership with New Times and Empire Energy will provide us a good opportunity to participate in the oil and gas exploration business in Tasmania, Australia, and that it is in the best interests of our respective shareholders."
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