Venture Acquires Additional Stake Acorn & Beechnut Discoveries

Venture Production has entered into an agreement to acquire CNR International (U.K.) Limited and CNR International (U.K.) Developments Limited's (together 'CNR') interests in the Acorn and Beechnut Central North Sea oil discoveries. The discoveries are contained in Blocks 29/8a-S and 29/8b (Acorn) and Blocks 29/9a-S and 29/9b (Beechnut). Subject to future unitisation, Venture estimates that these additional interests take its working interest in Acorn from 50% to 79% and in Beechnut from 37% to 72%. It is anticipated that Venture will become operator of both Acorn and Beechnut.

The consideration comprises a cash payment of US$1,400,000 upon completion plus additional payments of (1) US$80,000 upon receipt of the first field development approval on either of the acquired assets and (2) US$120,000 when first commercial oil is achieved from the first of the acquired assets to achieve production.

Acorn was discovered in 1983 and Beechnut in 1985, both discovery wells having had successful drill stem tests. Several development options exist including conventional subsea tie-back to nearby export infrastructure and a floating production solution. It is anticipated that the two accumulations will be developed jointly by up to five production wells and combined reserves are expected to be between 10 and 15 million barrels net to Venture.

Completion remains subject to regulatory and customary DTI and partner approvals.

Commenting on the news, Mike Wagstaff, Chief Executive said:
'This latest acquisition consolidates our interests in the Acorn and Beechnut discoveries and gives us operatorship of both prospective developments. We will be adding them in to our medium term development plans and, subject to partner and regulatory approvals, could envisage delivering first oil by 2010. These are exactly the kind of 'stranded' assets upon which Venture has been built and I am very pleased to have agreed a deal that bolsters our continuing growth. In total, during 2005 Venture has now made seven acquisitions adding significantly to our long-term development inventory.'

Upon legal completion of the acquisition announced today Venture will have the following interests in the Acorn and Beechnut discoveries:




Acquired Interest(%)

Central North Sea


P.012 & P.227

29/8a-S & 29/8b

79.80 (operated) & 77.63 (operated)


P.012 & P.227

29/9a-S & 29/9b

79.80 (operated) & 77.63 (operated)

Talisman Energy and Nexen Petroleum hold the remaining equity interests in the Acorn and Beechnut discoveries.

Venture currently operates 21 field interests in the UK North Sea of which 10 are in production, three are currently under development (Chestnut, Goosander, Amanda) and eight are undeveloped discoveries.

In addition, Venture is a partner in the producing Saturn field and the Mimas discovery currently under development (both operated by ConocoPhilips) as well as a further eight undeveloped discoveries.

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