Ascent Resources, through its wholly owned subsidiary Nemmoco Slovenia Corporation (NSC), has farmed-out one half of its 80% participation in the Eastern Slovenian Exploration Project to Aspect Energy International (AEI), a subsidiary of Denver based Aspect Holdings LLC (Aspect). The Eastern Slovenian Exploration Project is situated on the eastern edge of the Pannonian Basin, covering 864 square kilometers of the 2,473 square kilometer Pomurje Regional Exploration Area, adjacent to the Hungarian and Croatian borders. The exploration licence is held by Nafta Geoterm d.o.o., a subsidiary of state-owned energy and petrochemicals conglomerate Nafta Lendava d.o.o., which retains a 20% carried interest.
Work on the exploration project has already commenced with a comprehensive geological and geophysical study in its final stages. A 3D seismic acquisition, as well as appraisal and exploration drilling is planned during the coming year. Of a total of 65 exploration wells in the region, nearly half (27 of 65) reported hydrocarbon shows or produced oil or gas. Both AEI's sister company, Hungarian Horizon Energy (HHE) and Ascent's 45.23% owned PetroHungaria Kft, have experienced some success in the exploration and production of gas in the Hungarian part of the Pannonian Basin, with HHE currently being the second largest gas producer in Hungary.
Expenditure on the exploration project will be equally shared between NSC and AEI; however, AEI will pay the first €1 million and a disproportional payment mechanism will apply until a cumulative €3 million has been spent.
Ascent's Managing Director Jeremy Eng said, "This is the second exploration partnership that Ascent has undertaken with Aspect, which over the past five years has successfully explored and exploited hydrocarbon reserves in neighbouring Hungary. We look forward to continuing their success in Slovenia. Previous exploration work in the area has provided encouraging results and we look forward to the completion and interpretation of the geoscience studies and commencement of further appraisal and exploration drilling."