Venture Receives Approval for the Sycamore Field Development

Venture Production has received government approval for the development of the Sycamore oilfield. Sycamore will be the third field on Block 16/12a, and the second development project since Venture acquired an interest and operatorship of the block in April 2000.

The subsea development of Sycamore will be completed in three initial phases during 2002 and 2003, comprising up to 3 oil producers and 2 water injection wells. A pipeline and controls bundle connecting a new sub-sea Sycamore manifold to the existing Birch manifold will be manufactured by Subsea 7 at its Wick site in Scotland, and will be floated out to Block 16/12a later this year. Other equipment will also be manufactured in the North East of Scotland at locations from Invergordon to Montrose, creating onshore employment during the construction phase for around 200 people. Onshore and offshore, up to 400 individuals will be employed during 2002 and 2003.

The total project is expected to cost approximately £90 million and result in the recovery of 20 million barrels of oil and 14 billion cubic feet of gas. First oil is planned for April 2003, with production rates expected to peak around 20,000 barrels per day later that year.

The Sycamore development follows Venture's earlier success in rejuvenating the Larch oilfield in 2000-2001 which, since production re-commenced in mid-2001, has produced 2.5 million barrels of oil.

Venture's partner in both Larch and Sycamore is Marubeni Oil & Gas (U.K.) Limited, who also purchased an interest in Block 16/12a in July 2000.

Bruce Dingwall, Venture's CEO said, 'The successful way in which Block 16/12a has been rejuvenated since mid-2000 is an excellent example of what can be achieved by changing the ownership of stranded North Sea assets and bringing together appropriately sized, like-minded companies'.

Energy Minister, Brian Wilson added, 'Venture is an excellent example of a new entrant company in the North Sea that recognises the value of investing in interesting opportunities such as this one. The development of Sycamore, which until now had been a fallow discovery, represents exactly the type of activity we are trying to encourage through PILOT's Progressing Partnership Work Group, making this success doubly important. My recent visit to Venture confirmed the Government's view that companies with this degree of innovation and vision should be given every opportunity to exploit these kinds of assets'.

The Sycamore field lies 260 kilometers north-east of Aberdeen in a water depth of 140 meters. Venture Production is the operator of Sycamore with a 64.51% interest and Marubeni Oil & Gas holds the remaining 35.49%.