Tunisian Govt. Inks Cooper's Bargou Exploration Permit

Cooper Energy Limited has advised its shareholders and investors that its Bargou Exploration Permit in Tunisia, North Africa was signed by the Tunisian Government on September 23, 2008. The Bargou Exploration License lies in the Gulf of Hammamet in Tunisia and Cooper Energy owns 100% of the permit and is Operator.

Earlier this year, Cooper Energy announced  that its application to convert the 2-year Bargou Prospecting Permit to a 5-year Exploration Permit had been approved by the Department of Energy. The signing of the permit by the Tunisian Government ratifies the conversion.

During the 2-year Prospecting Permit period, Cooper Energy successfully:

  • Collated all existing seismic and well data;
  • Scanned 7,973 km of 2D seismic data;
  • Reprocessed 1,671 km of 2D seismic data;
  • Purchased 344 km of speculative 2D seismic data;
  • Acquired and processed 973 km of 2D offshore seismic to budget and schedule with no HSE incidents;
  • Integrated the Bargou dataset with 14,000 km of seismic in the Hammamet Exploration Permit, resulting in Cooper Energy being the custodian to probably the most comprehensive database in the Gulf of Hammamet; and
  • Evaluated and interpreted all data.

The conclusion of the studies undertaken during the Prospecting Permit period reveals that the Bargou Permit contains a large number of attractive leads and prospects with multiple target levels. In addition, an exciting play concept, potentially analogous to the Isis Oil Field, has been identified in the southern region of the block.

The onshore-north area holds the Menzel Horr Prospect, which has the potential to deliver 26 million barrels of recoverable oil (P50). The prospect is directly analogous to other onshore structurally on-trend fields such as Zinnia and Belli. As the prospect lies entirely onshore, it has the potential to enable early exploration success for the permit via low cost onshore drilling. The costs of drilling are currently under review but are expected to be around the US $5-9 million range.

The offshore north and central areas have a number of prospects that are located adjacent to the ENI-operated Maamoura oil and gas discovery. These prospects are close to shore and, if discovered, have the potential to be tied into proposed future offshore and existing onshore infrastructure.

The offshore south area is elephant hunting country and contains a number of large attractive prospects. As an example, the ready-to-drill Kuriate Est Prospect has the potential to hold approximately 250 million barrels of recoverable oil (P50). In addition to the Kuriate Est Prospect, several other large prospects and leads have been identified in this area, making it an attractive proposition from a business build perspective.

The Bargou prospects and leads portfolio contains nearly 1 billion barrels of undiscovered oil at the P50 level with a risked volume of greater than 150 million barrels of undiscovered recoverable oil. A portfolio of this size provides significant leverage when compared to Cooper Energy's current Cooper Basin developed recoverable oil portfolio of 1.44 million barrels (P50).

In August 2008, Cooper Energy engaged RPS Energy, an independent resource consulting group, to undertake an independent geological review of the Bargou Permit and this review confirmed the highly attractive nature of the block. In the summary of the review RPS stated that “In our opinion, Cooper is managing its Tunisian portfolio in a thorough and professional manner which will maximize its ability to extract value from the many opportunities therein."

RPS goes on further to state that "A simple arithmetic summation of the Mean Prospective Resources for all the prospects and reservoirs totals 1,224 million barrels of oil recoverable."

As the Bargou Permit is only one exploration block in Cooper Energy's portfolio of nine exploration blocks, this review demonstrates the deep inherent and underlying exploration potential that the Company has accumulated since listing in 2002.

The Company’s overall strategy is to identify large exploration targets which provide our shareholders with significant company-enhancing potential. The Bargou Permit clearly demonstrates the delivery of this strategy and the Company is extremely pleased with the attractive exploration portfolio that it is delivering.

The forward strategy for the Bargou Permit is as follows:

  • Pursue the maturation of the onshore exploration target (Menzel Horr, 26 million barrels undiscovered recoverable oil (P50)) with a view to drilling a well in 2009, subject to final geoscience work and rig availability; and
  • Commencing immediately, we will approach several like-minded and reputable partners to participate in the drilling of several offshore wells, thereby providing Cooper Energy with a high leverage to the exploration portfolio.