Aker Continues to Increase Stakes, Activities in North Sea Licenses

Aker Exploration has established a quality portfolio of exploration acreage with ownership interests in 16 licenses.

"We have recruited a competent organization with 34 employees with a strong focus on attractive areas in the northern North Sea, the Norwegian Sea and the Barents Sea," said CEO Bard Johansen.

The company's development is in line with its strategy. The Aker Exploration Group had a loss after tax of NOK 93.4 million for the first 6 months of 2008, compared to a loss of NOK 40.7 million in the same period in 2007. The Company recorded an unrealized exchange loss of NOK 47.5 million from the Company`s hedging activities resulting from the continued decline in the value of the USD versus the Norwegian kroner during the period.

The 2008 second quarter alone shows an after tax loss of NOK 51.3 million compared to a loss of NOK 34.8 million in the same period in 2007

The 6 months' accounts include costs related to the dry well on Stetind (PL 283). The activity level in Aker Exploration is high. The financial statements show the costs associated with acquiring and maturing a license portfolio and for building up a strong organization together with acquisitions of seismic and electromagnetic data (EM). First income is not expected before 2010.

"We are preparing for the start of operations with the rig Aker Barents in the first quarter of 2009 and we are continually evaluating potential farm-in agreements where we can utilize the rig," said Johansen.

Aker Exploration has traded access to rig capacity with license shares with 10 different oil companies on the Norwegian Continental Shelf. In addition, the company was awarded 6 license interests in the APA 2007 awards earlier this year. Aker Exploration is operator for two licenses and the company has already nominated blocks for the forthcoming 20th licensing round.