TransAtlantic Makes Headway in Thrace Basin
TransAtlantic provided the following update regarding its plans to acquire Thrace Basin Natural Gas, its current operations, and its plan to file financial statements for the quarter ended September 30, 2010.
Planned Acquisition of Thrace Basin Natural Gas
On November 8, 2010, we entered into an option agreement to acquire Thrace Basin Natural Gas Turkiye Corporation and Pinnacle Turkey, Inc. (collectively, "TBNG") for an aggregate purchase price of $100.0 million in cash and 18.5 million of our common shares. TBNG currently produces approximately 25.0 million cubic feet of natural gas per day in the Thrace Basin and holds interests in a total of approximately 600,000 net onshore acres and 360,000 net offshore acres in Turkey.
We expect to form a special purpose entity to complete the acquisition, with third party investors providing $100 million in funding toward the purchase price. Those investors would hold approximately 65% of TBNG's current production and acreage. We would pay 18.5 million of our common shares for approximately 35% of TBNG's current production and acreage and 100% of TBNG's oil field service equipment and related assets, which includes five drilling rigs. We paid a $10.0 million option fee to the owner of TBNG and have until February 11, 2011 to exercise the option. In the event we do not exercise the option, $5.0 million of the option fee will be returned to us.
"Over the past two decades Thrace Basin Natural Gas has built the most efficient operation I have seen. The acquisition of Thrace Basin Natural Gas and Pinnacle would be the final component in our Thrace Basin strategy. We would complete our presence in the Thrace Basin with additional acreage and an operational base on the southern flank of the basin. This would expand our inventory of shallow gas targets and is a very attractive area for deeper conventional and unconventional gas. In addition, the oil field service equipment will serve us well as we continue to ramp up our activity in Turkey. I can't overstate how pleased I would be to have the employees of Thrace Basin Natural Gas join the TransAtlantic team," said N. Malone Mitchell, 3rd, the Company's Chairman.
For the quarter ended September 30, 2010 our net production, after royalty, was 177,755 barrels of oil at an average rate of 1,932 net barrels per day and 514,179 thousand net cubic feet of natural gas at an average rate of 5,588 thousand net cubic feet per day. Net oil production increased in the third quarter of 2010 as compared to the second quarter of 2010 by 5%, while net natural gas production increased quarter-to-quarter by 45%.
Turkey Operations -- Thrace Basin
For the past several months we have been working with Turkiye Petrolleri Anonim Ortakligi ("TPAO"), the national oil company of Turkey, planning our first fracture stimulations. In October 2010, we successfully pumped the first modern fracture stimulation in Turkey on the Kepirtepe-1 well on License 3791 in the Thrace Basin to test non-commercial natural gas shows in the Mezardere sands at approximately 12,000 feet. The single-stage fracture stimulation was pumped using our high pressure and high volume pumping units, sand blenders and miscellaneous support equipment. Initial flow rates exceeded 4.0 million cubic feet of natural gas per day with some condensate and water. "We expect to complete cleaning of the perforations and final testing of the well with coiled tubing and nitrogen units in late November 2010. The initial flow rate, while preliminary, points to potential production from unconventional tight sands, and we expect to continue applying modern fracture stimulation technology to existing and new wells drilled in the Thrace Basin. By year-end 2010, we expect to have completed single-stage fracture stimulations in four of the five known reservoirs on our acreage in the Thrace Basin. Once we have refined our fracture stimulation techniques on less expensive re-entries, we plan to commence drilling at locations optimized for unconventional potential," said Gary Mize, the Company's President.
Our emphasis in the Thrace Basin has been on defining an inventory of drillable conventional and unconventional targets. Current production is approximately 10.0 million cubic feet of natural gas per day net to our interest, before royalty. In addition we have approximately 10.0 million cubic feet of natural gas per day awaiting connection to pipelines. We expect to bring approximately half of that production on line before year-end 2010, with the balance brought on line in the first quarter of 2011.
As a result of our acquisition of Amity and Petrogas, our acreage in the Thrace Basin increased by approximately 1.3 million gross acres. To accelerate the evaluation of this additional acreage, we have completed two new 3D seismic surveys and are currently acquiring additional 3D seismic data. By mid-2011, we expect to be operating five drilling rigs in the Thrace Basin, with two rigs targeting shallower conventional targets and three rigs targeting deeper targets.
Turkey Operations -- Southeastern Turkey
Syrian Trend -- Bakuk
We have re-entered the Bakuk-2 well on License 4069 (50% interest) with the intention of testing the oil potential of the well. Well records indicate that oil was encountered while drilling, although that oil was incapable of flowing to the surface. "We should know within a couple of weeks if we have a commercial oil leg at Bakuk," said Mr. Mize. He continued, "Regardless, we expect to focus on delineating reserves, whether oil from around the Bakuk-2 well or natural gas from around the Bakuk-101A well, over the next year." Construction has begun on a gas pipeline, which would connect the Bakuk-101A well to a pipeline to the south. Limited gas sales from the well, which tested at 10.0 million cubic feet per day before being shut in, could begin by year-end 2010.
To the south of the Bakuk anticline on License 4069, where we recently acquired 3D seismic data, we are likely to drill a well in the first quarter of 2011. We were recently awarded License 4642, which sits to the east of Bakuk along the Syrian border, and we have begun planning a seismic survey of the license.
Selmo Oil Field
We have now drilled 10 wells at the Selmo oil field in 2010 and are currently drilling an additional two wells. With two rigs now running in Selmo, we expect to drill 16 total wells this year. "By drilling underbalanced and using downholes motors, we have cut the average drilling time from 25 days to less than 20 days," said Mr. Mize. "Our goal is to bring that down to 15 days or less. With the additional wells coming on, we are seeing production build. Production in Selmo averaged 2,152 barrels of oil per day for the month of October."
In late September 2010, we began a 270 square kilometer 3D seismic survey on the southern portion of License 3118. The survey, which covers the Arpatepe oil field area, is now almost 70% complete. Processing should be complete by year end 2010, and we anticipate resuming drilling in the first quarter of 2011. "Our primary objective in the Paleozoic Trend is the Bedinan sandstone, which is the productive zone in the Arpatepe wells. However, we plan on fracture stimulating the Dadas shale in the Gosku-1 well and believe that the Dadas may prove to be a productive reservoir," said Mr. Mize.
As previously announced, on License 4175 (100% working interest), we drilled the Kaletepe-1 well to a total depth of 10,695 feet. We did not encounter any oil shows while drilling and did not encounter our primary pre-drilling objective, a Paleozoic-aged reservoir. We are developing a plan to test zones that appear to be productive from a log analysis, although we do not expect to make a commercial well.
In Morocco, we re-drilled the HKE-1bis well on the Ouezzane-Tissa exploration permits (50% farm-in), reaching total depth in October 2010, completing our contractual and license drilling commitments on these permits. We have run production casing and will attempt to complete the HKE-1bis well in November 2010. In early November 2010, we acidized the Burdigalian zone in the HR-33bis well on the Tselfat exploration permit (100% working interest), which stimulated the flow of oil. While we have only flowed the well for less than a week, we are encouraged by the potential of the well.
- TransAtlantic Provides Update on Recent Well Results in Turkey (Sep 23)
- TransAtlantic Adds Member to Board (Feb 10)
- TransAtlantic to Sell Oilfield Services Business (Feb 28)