Amerada Hess and Ranger Agree On Drilling Program for Beechnut

Amerada Hess Limited and Ranger Oil have reached agreement on a joint program for further exploration and appraisal for the Beechnut area in Blocks 29/9a south and 29/9b in the UK sector of the North Sea.

Beechnut is included within one of the "cluster" areas identified by the PILOT Undeveloped Discoveries workgroup in its report delivered in July 2000. Amerada Hess as sponsor of the Beechnut/Acorn cluster and Ranger as Operator of 29/9b initiated discussions that have led to an agreement with all parties to appraise the potential of Beechnut for future development.

Amerada Hess, with staff seconded from Ranger, will operate this next phase which will involve an appraisal well of Beechnut North, which was discovered in 1987, and exploration of Beechnut South. The wells will be drilled from a single location and provision has been made for a further sidetrack to appraise the second of these targets if appropriate. Drilling is expected to commence in late August with a 120-day program.

In the event of a successful program, there are a number of development and export options available with a range of infrastructure already existing in the sector including the Ranger-operated Kyle facilities nearby in block 29/2c.