Venture Starts Production at Annabel Field in the North Sea

Venture Production reorts that the Saturn (Annabel) gas field came on stream on April 3, 2005.

The Annabel gas field, in which Venture holds a 100% working interest, is located in the southern North Sea approximately 100km off the Lincolnshire coast. The Annabel field has been developed as a 17 km sub-sea tie-back of the 48/10a-12 discovery well, drilled in 2003, to the nearby Venture-operated 'Audrey' production facilities. Gas is exported via the existing LOGGS infrastructure and into the Theddlethorpe terminal in Lincolnshire.

Following successful hydraulic fracturing the well was completed for future production and tied-into the Audrey 'A' platform. Initial production rates are in line with expectations and are anticipated to be between 60 and 70 MMcfpd. In order to optimize production and maximize recoverable reserves, Venture is planning to drill a second well in the field in mid-2005.

On an annualized basis Annabel is expected to add around 45 MMcfpd or 7,500 boepd to Venture's 2005 production and in excess of 60 MMcfpd or 10,000 boepd in 2006, subject to current project timing and the success of the second development well. Total proven and probable reserves for Saturn (Annabel) are estimated to be 96 billion cubic feet ('Bcf') from the two wells.

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

'First gas production from Annabel represents a major development milestone for Venture and will give a significant boost to Venture's production. The fast-track development of Annabel through existing infrastructure in only 19 months from discovery to first sales gas is a perfect demonstration of Venture's development strategy in action. Annabel represents the first of a series of major development projects expected to come on stream during 2005 which should enable Venture to double its production this year without being reliant on further major acquisitions.'

Venture entered the southern North Sea ('SNS') in 2001 through the acquisition of interests in the Audrey, Ann and Alison gas fields.

Venture has built its SNS business through eight acquisitions, five major commercial transactions and participation in four wells over the period 2001-2004.

Venture is the operator and 100% owner of Audrey, Ann, Alison, Saturn (Annabel) and Amanda and has a 22% non-operated interest in the Saturn Development (operated by ConocoPhillips).

As a result, Venture now has interests in seven SNS gas fields:

  • four in production - Audrey, Ann, Alison and Annabel
  • three near term developments anticipated to come on stream in 2005/6 - Saturn (Hyperion, Atlas), Mimas and Amanda
  • at the end of 2004, total net proved and probable reserves amounted to 257 Bcf
  • this existing gas portfolio has the potential to deliver peak production of approximately 200 MMcfpd (36,000 boepd) over the next several years