Bowleven has signed a letter of intent (LOI) for a rig for its planned drilling campaign on the Etinde Permit (Etinde), offshore Cameroon, and completion of legal documentation is expected shortly. The drilling program is scheduled to commence as planned in April/May 2010 with the spudding of the IE appraisal well (IE-3). Well locations have now been selected for the first two wells in the program, IE-3 and the exploration well on MLHP-5. The exact location and timing of the IF-2 well will depend upon the outcome of the additional seismic activity on MLHP-7.
The Etinde farm-out to Vitol announced previously is conditional upon routine regulatory approval by the Cameroon Government. Ministerial recommendation has been given for the transaction and following the successful visit by an official delegation to Vitol's offices in January 2010 assignment approval is anticipated shortly.
The extensive seismic activities planned on Etinde are already underway. The reprocessing of existing 3D seismic is ongoing and the tender process for the acquisition of new seismic over Etinde has been initiated. In particular, an LOI has been signed for a vessel to acquire 3D marine seismic on Etinde, including the IF field. Seismic operations are due to commence shortly on the Bomono Permit, onshore Cameroon, with drilling anticipated in 2011.
An exploration well is also budgeted in 2010 on the Epaemeno Permit, onshore Gabon.
The Group had cash balances at December 31, 2009 of circa $110 million. This funding, coupled with the additional $100 million gross work programme carry provided by the initial phase of the Vitol transaction, ensures Bowleven is well funded to undertake the extensive activities planned across its entire portfolio in 2010.
Kevin Hart, Chief Executive, said, "With a rig now earmarked for our drilling activities on Etinde we are on track to deliver the intensive work program planned on the acreage in 2010. We look forward with excitement to what is shaping up to be the busiest year in Bowleven's history."
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