Aker Exploration Strengthens Position in North Sea

Aker Exploration has reached an agreement with ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Norway AS to acquire a 40 percent share of a prospect in license 028. The agreement is conditional upon Aker Exploration operating an exploration well on behalf of ExxonMobil. The semisubmersible drilling rig Aker Barents will be used for the well which is expected to commence towards the end of 2009.

"We are strengthening our position in the Balder / Grane area where Aker Exploration already have existing exploration activity. The prospect is near infrastructure and within a proven hydrocarbon province," said Bard Johansen, President and CEO of Aker Exploration.

Aker Exploration will acquire a 40 percent share as a stratigraphic carve-out below the Base Cretaceous in return for carrying the costs of drilling one exploration well and a possible sidetrack. The carved out area will become a separate license, PL 028S, subject to approval from the Norwegian Authorities.

"To Aker Exploration the prospect represents a very interesting exploration opportunity. This transaction once again shows the merit of the "Rig for Oil" concept and Aker Exploration looks forward to cooperate with ExxonMobil in exploring for oil in this area," said Bard Johansen.

The transaction is subject to final approval by the Norwegian Authorities.

Aker Exploration has now interests in 22 licenses on the NCS, and is currently drilling an exploration well on license 304 with the rig Songa Dee. The drilling schedule of Aker Barents is nearly fully booked until the end of 2010 with several additional identified opportunities in the period thereafter.