Venture Receives DTI Approval for Saturn Development

Venture Production reports that the UK Department of Trade and Industry has given its approval for the development of the Saturn (Annabel) gas accumulation, part of the larger Saturn development area in the Southern North Sea.

Venture, which holds a 100% working interest in Saturn (Annabel), drilled and tested the 48/10a-12 well on the Annabel accumulation in August 2003. Following successful hydraulic fracturing in the second quarter of 2004, the well tested at rates in excess of 100 million cubic feet per day ('MMcfpd'). It was subsequently completed as a producer and work is ongoing to complete a subsea tieback to the Audrey 'A' platform. It is anticipated that production from Saturn (Annabel) will start during the first quarter of 2005. Optimal reservoir management dictates that initial rates will be constrained to between 60 and 70 MMcfpd and, in order to accelerate and maximize recoverable reserves, Venture is planning to drill a second well on the Saturn (Annabel) accumulation in the third quarter of 2005. Gas export will be via the existing LOGGS infrastructure and into the Theddlethorpe terminal in Lincolnshire.

In addition to this near term production increase, the recent offer of an award of a promote licence for Block 48/15b in the 22nd Licensing Round gives Venture the opportunity to consider further near-field exploration to the south of the current development.

On an annualized basis Saturn (Annabel) is expected to add around 45 MMcfpd or 7,500 boepd to Venture's 2005 production and in excess of 72 MMcfpd or 12,000 boepd in 2006, subject to current project timing and the success of the second development well.

Finally, alongside this latest gas business milestone, Venture is pleased to announce that the development of its oil business continues with the legal completion of the acquisition of Marubeni Oil and Gas (UK)'s interest in Block 16/12a ('Trees'). This was formally completed on October 29, 2004.

Commenting on the latest news, Mike Wagstaff, Chief Executive said:

'Annabel represents the third new field development for Venture in 2004. The fast track discovery and development of the Saturn (Annabel) field through existing infrastructure is what Venture's business is all about. With an inventory of similar projects to keep us busy for the next two years we are looking forward to being able to double Venture's production without being reliant on further major acquisitions.'