Venture Makes Discovery on Annabel Prospect

Venture Production has successfully drilled and tested the 48/10a-12 well on the Annabel accumulation at production rates in excess of 50 million cubic feet of gas per day ('MMcfpd'). The well has the potential to see first gas delivered during Winter 2004/5. Venture has an 88.89% interest in the block.

Well 48/10a-12, located in the Southern North Sea ('SNS'), was drilled to a depth of 11,752 feet by the jack-up rig Noble Ronald Hoope. Whilst the Rotliegend Sandstone has tested gas at a rate in excess of 50 MMcfpd, final flow rates were constrained by the surface equipment on the rig. Well log data indicates a gas column in excess of 558 feet and net pay of 200 feet. No gas-water contact was observed in the well.

Venture intends to pursue a fast track development of the Annabel field with the likelihood that first sales gas will be delivered by Winter 2004/5. The Annabel field has the potential to be developed via tie-back to the wholly Venture owned and operated Audrey facilities 13 km to the south. Gas export would then be via the existing LOGGS infrastructure and from there to the Theddlethorpe terminal in Lincolnshire.

The drilling success on Annabel is the second positive operational result this year from the Company's 'A' Fields business hub. A successful workover returned the Ann A-2 well to production in June and, once its work on Annabel is complete, the drilling rig will move on to spud the Annie/Agatha appraisal well during the fourth quarter.

Commenting on the news, Bruce Dingwall, Chief Executive, Venture Production said: 'I am delighted to be able to announce this second successful result so early in our 'A' Fields drilling campaign. Annabel is the most prolific gas well we've drilled so far and analysis of well test and geophysical data is expected to confirm it as our most significant conversion from technical reserves to proven and Probable thus far.

'Such success in step-out drilling near to an existing hub demonstrates the upside potential in our business model as well as further diversifying our portfolio. Taking 100% control of the Audrey field through the two acquisitions announced earlier this year enables Venture to control the pace of development of Annabel and thus maximize the return on our investment.'