Meridian Signs Australian Native Title Agreement

Meridian Petroleum plc, the oil and gas company with key assets in the U.S. and Australia, said that it has signed an agreement in respect of its Australian PELA 132 license Native Title claim.

The Native Title Claim Group and its governing body, ATLA, hold the traditional land rights to the license area and their agreement is required prior to any exploration being undertaken.

The principle terms of the agreement require Meridian to pay:

--A signature payment of AUD$60,000
--An annual administration fee of AUD$15,000, subject to annual inflation adjustment
--An annual royalty of 1% of production.

These terms are in line with other recently negotiated native title claim settlements. The agreement will now be referred to the South Australian Minister of Mines and Petroleum for execution.

PELA 132, in the Arrowie Basin, onshore South Australia contains the Dolores prospect. The prospect is located 40km from the existing Moomba to Adelaide gas pipeline linking the Cooper Basin gas fields to the South Australian gas consumers. Meridian has a 100% working interest in the license and is planning to drill the Delores Prospect later this year.

Meridian recently announced the results of a Scott Pickford evaluation of the Delores Prospect that assigned a best-estimate Gas-In-Place of 547 Bcf (approximately 91mmboe) and an estimated P50 gas recoverable of 432 Bcf (approximately 72 mmboe).

“The signing of this Native Title Agreement represents the culmination of over 2 years of negotiations and is a major step forward in the development of our Australian assets,” said Anthony Mason, Meridian’s chief executive. “Scott Pickford recently assigned an estimated 432Bcf P50 recoverable gas reserve to the prospect. We are now reviewing the best way in which to exploit this prospect and anticipate drilling will commence at the turn of the year.”