Venture Unveils Whitbeck Gas Discovery in East Irish Sea

ENSCO 92 Jackup
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North Atlantic and North Sea Areas
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Venture Production has announced the discovery of gas on trend with the producing Bains field and 10 kilometers northeast of the Morecambe South production complex in the East Irish Sea.

The Whitbeck exploration well (110/3b-6A, Venture 70% and operator), which was spudded on July 15, 2009 using the Ensco 92 jackup rig, has discovered a gas reservoir. The well reached a total measured depth ('MD') of 5787ft on August 7, 2009 and encountered a gross gas column of 120ft within the Triassic Ormskirk Sandstone with a gas water contact at 5518ft MD. Downhole samples were taken to confirm the gas quality and the initial analysis indicates that it is within the pre-drill expectation range. The well has been suspended enabling it to either be completed as is or sidetracked as a future development well. A field development decision will be made following a full evaluation of the well results and the available export options.

Venture holds a 70% interest in the block containing the Whitbeck discovery having farmed-in to the acreage in March 2008. The exploration well was designed to test a Triassic Ormskirk Sandstone, the primary reservoir rock found in the East Irish Sea basin.

As of March 31, 2009, in its total proven and probable reserves of 240 MMboe, Venture had no booked reserves associated with Whitbeck.

Commenting on the news, Mike Wagstaff, Chief Executive said, "Whitbeck is another gas discovery from our 2009 drilling program. At this stage it is classed as a technical discovery as commerciality is not yet proven. However, following on from the successful Marram appraisal well and also lying close to existing export infrastructure it does provide encouragement that further technical work may lead to the development of new production in this region.

"Venture has now completed its East Irish Sea drilling for this year. In our overall 2009 campaign we are delighted to have drilled five commercially successful wells out of seven so far and we are now focused on the Annabel East appraisal well which should deliver a result in late August."

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