Minister Gives Go-Ahead for Tasmanian Basin Exploration

Empire announced on May 17, 2010 that the Honorable Bryan Green, Minister for Energy and Resources has signed the documents for its Tasmania Basin exploration license EL14/2009, which means the license is now granted and in full effect.

Empire and GSLM CEO Malcolm Bendall said, "This is excellent news for Empire. We want to thank the Minister for signing the exploration license to allow us to continue our exploration and development work. We look forward to working with the Minister to create the petroleum industry in Tasmania. To further this exploration work, Empire has signed a conditional contract with GEFCO Inc. of Enid, Oklahoma for a state-of-the-art, truck mounted, GEFCO SS-1100 drilling rig, with a capability to drill both vertically and horizontally to 15,000 feet (4572m). A GEFCO 185 rig, previously bought by Empire for $1.3 million, shipped to Tasmania and converted to Australian specifications, has since successfully drilled a well to 7874 feet (2400m) and a total of 28 miles (45km) of drill holes, on mainland Australia. Empire is now poised to drill our two main domes at Bellevue and Thunderbolt, which independent consultants have estimated could contain 447 million barrels of oil. This undiscovered prospective resource has been valued at $2.2 billion dollars by independent experts who assumed a value discounted to $5 a barrel." Mr. Bendall continued, "At today's oil price of $70 per barrel this would potentially be a gross in-ground value of $31 billion."

GEFCO Vice President of international sales Art Kliewer said, "We are delighted with Empire's conditional contract for purchase of a second GEFCO rig and we wish Empire and GSLM every success with their Tasmania Basin drilling program."