Po Valley Drilling Delayed Again, Construction of Drill Site Moves Forward

Ascent has been requested by Otto Energy, its farm-in partner in the Cento-Bastiglia exploration permits in Italy's prolific Po Valley, not to commence the drilling of the Gazzata-1 well before mid-March 2009, subject to rig availability. However in the meantime, Otto is forwarding the funds for long lead-time equipment and drill site construction which will commence in due course.

This is the second request from Otto to delay the drilling of the Gazzata-1 well due to problems they are experiencing with their production from the Galoc field in the Philippines. Otto is to earn a 50% working interest in the Cento-Bastiglia permits via funding 100% of the cost of Gazzata-1 and, if successful, the cost of a second well.

The Gazzata-1 well, which targets a large Pliocene gas exploration prospect at a depth of c 2,400 m, will be drilled by the Perazzoli HH200 rig which is 22.5% owned by Ascent. This rig is currently drilling for another operator in Italy.

Ascent Managing Director Jeremy Eng said, "Otto have already expended over €2 million on the Gazzata-1 project and have now committed to the construction of the drilling site. Although this delays the exploration drilling, it is unlikely that there will be any further delays to the project."