ARC's Canning Basin Exploration Program Commences

ARC Energy says that operations at the Valentine 1 exploration well located in the onshore Canning Basin Permit R1, have commenced using the Century 18 drilling rig.

Valentine 1 is located approximately 20 kilometers north of the township of Derby in northwest Western Australia's Kimberley region. The primary reservoir objective is the Late Devonian aged Virgin Hills Formation. Valentine 1 is designed to intersect the interpreted Virgin Hills sandstones and carbonates near the structural crest of the prospect. The well will be drilled deviated to the 244mm (9 5/8") casing point at approximately 800 meters measured depth, building to a maximum hole angle of 20O. The Valentine 1 well will then be drilled to return to vertical at the top of the main objective section at approximately 3,220 meters measured depth. The deviation at 800m will accommodate the planned subsequent sidetracking operations required to drill the Stokes Bay 1 well, which will be drilled immediately after Valentine 1.

The Valentine prospect is a large lowside fault closure that is mapped in both the EP104 and R1 permits and extends over an area of some 66 square kilometers along the Pinnacle fault system. The Valentine reservoir objective is interpreted to be a slope fan / marine sand body which has a very distinctive seismic signature. The principal risk on the prospect is interpreted to be the stratigraphic updip seal mechanism, but the distinctive seismic signature of the objective section and the proven good petroleum source potential of the underlying Gogo Formation shales, together with the large potential hydrocarbon volumes, make it an attractive target.

The Stokes Bay 1 well is planned to be drilled by sidetracking from the Valentine 1 wellbore after the completion of drilling operations at Valentine 1. Stokes Bay 1 is planned as a test of the extent and reservoir development of the gas accumulation intersected by the Point Torment 1 well and will be drilled as a deviated well with a total depth of approximately 2,500 meters. Point Torment 1 was drilled in 1992 and subsequently flowed gas at a rate of up to 4.3 million cubic feet of gas per day from the Carboniferous aged Anderson Formation sandstones. Subsequent tests of these sands produced ambiguous information on potential volumes and reservoir quality and the Stokes Bay 1 well is designed to provide a definitive test of the reservoir quality and extent of the accumulation.

Final interests in R1 and EP104 post the Valentine 1 well farmin earning program are ARC Energy Limited as operator with 38.95%; Empire Oil and Gas NL with 14.8%; Emerald Oil & Gas NL with 12.75%; Pancontinental Oil & Gas NL with 10%; Phoenix Resources PLC with 10%; First Australian Resources Limited with 8% and Indigo Oil Pty Ltd with the remaining 5.5%.