Drillable offshore oil prospects
to be ready by early 2004
Australian petroleum exploration company Pancontinental
Oil and Gas expects to have seismic research work gauging Maltas
offshore oil potential completed within a time frame that would allow
drillable prospects to be ready by early 2004.
Pancontinental is currently studying Maltas offshore oil prospects
under an Exploration Study Agreement signed with the Maltese government
The announcement was revealed in the finer print of a recently-signed
participation agreement between Pancontinental and fellow Australian
oil and gas company Sun Resources.
Under the preliminary agreement, Sun Resources will fund the existing
venture through the anticipated cost of the next seismic commitment
in the Maltese offshore project - in return for 20 per cent equity.
On completion of the agreement, Pancontinental would retain 32 per cent
equity in the project.
The preliminary agreement is subject to being able to secure a satisfactory
production sharing contract over the presently targeted leads in Area
5 and the completion of formal documentation.
Permits awarded to Pancontinental by the government total approximately
14,800 square kilometres just south west of Malta.
Pancontinental had reported that the offshore area entrusted to the
company by the government contains look alike prospects
of commercial billion-barrel discoveries in the nearby offshore areas
of Tunisia and Libya. The offshore areas in question are Area 5 and
Block 3 of Area 4.
Pancontinental had capitalised upon an opportunity that came about in
late 2000, which presented itself when experts were reviewing technical
data on Maltese territorial waters not under a petroleum permit.
An interpretation of the data, the company says, indicates that the
potential size of the prospect is very robust and adequate to
contain commercial hydrocarbon volumes.
The original ESA signed with the government gives Pancontinental an
exclusive period of at least 18 months, extendable for three years,
with a right to convert to a long-term Production Sharing Contract with
the Maltese government.
The announcement comes not long after the news that Hardman Resources,
also of Australia, is to begin its own oil exploration activities next
Pancontinental has high hopes for the targeted areas, citing that the
nearby waters of Tunisia and Libya, with strikingly similar seismic
characteristics to the area in question, contain major world-class commercial
producing oil and gas fields.