Petroceltic Kicks Off Drilling at Isarene Permit in Algeria

Algeria, Africa
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Petroceltic has commenced drilling operations on the Isarene permit in Algeria. Drilling began in the INE-2 well at 23.00 hours on May 16, 2009.

The overall program of wells planned for the Isarene permit by Petroceltic (Operator, 75% equity interest) and its co-venturer Sonatrach (25% equity interest) is for 5 to 7 wells. Allowing for rig moves and drilling times, the second well of the program (AT-1) is expected to begin drilling operations in 4 to 5 weeks time.

The Company plans to test and where necessary fracture the objective reservoir sections of the wells drilled without using the drilling rig ("rigless testing"). The rigless testing approach has many operational benefits, and reduces cost and program length overall. The first two wells in the program will be drilled and suspended ready for testing before the test crew is mobilized to the block.

The optimized operations plan requires the wells to be tested once the rig has completed drilling and completion operations and has departed from each well site. The testing will then be carried out as a continuous batch process independent of rig operations.

The Company does not intend to announce the commencement of each well in the campaign. Subject to the Company's regulatory announcement obligations it is intended that well test results will be announced when individual well tests have been completed, and when the co-venturers have agreed the announcement in accordance with the public announcement provisions of the Isarene Production Sharing Contract. On current planning, the first testing results are expected to be announced in September 2009.

Brian O'Cathain, Chief Executive of Petroceltic commented, "We are delighted to have started drilling again on Isarene. This is our first drilling operation on the license since we acquired almost 1000 sq. km of wide azimuth 3D seismic on the Ain Tsila ridge. We hope to test and appraise the existing gas accumulations on Isarene with this drilling campaign."


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