Northern announced that seismic operations have commenced on the Guyane Maritime license in which Northpet Investments Limited has a 2.5% interest (subject to Government of France approval). The Guyane Maritime license is operated by Tullow Oil. Northern holds 50% of the equity in Northpet.
The Guyane Maritime license covers some 35,200 square kilometers of the prospective area offshore French Guyane in water depths ranging from 200m to 3000m. Interpretation of existing seismic and well data indicates the presence of several large structural and stratigraphic prospects with potential to contain significant hydrocarbon volumes. To date, the exploration effort has focused on structural prospects located on the Guyane continental shelf. However, the results of more recent geological work have identified the presence of stratigraphic prospects developed along the shelf edge and slope. These features are similar in age and form to the oil discoveries such as the Jubilee Field made by Tullow on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, offshore Ghana.
The 2009 3D seismic program will acquire data across an area covering approximately 2500 square kilometers. The seismic acquisition should be complete before year end 2009. Thereafter this data will be processed and interpreted with the intent of high grading the prospect inventory and completing the work program on the block within the current license period.
Commenting on the development, Derek Musgrove, Managing Director of Northern Petroleum, said, "Investment in French Guyane is consistent with Northern's strategy to focus its resources in countries with low geopolitical risk. Through its holding in Northpet, Northern has a modest financial exposure to an exploration play that offers significant exploration potential analogous to the recent discoveries made by Tullow offshore Ghana. Tullow's recent success and experience in these plays will make a significant contribution to mitigate the exploration risks. Northern looks forward to working with Tullow on the next stage in this exciting project."