Statoil to operate Georgina basin shale program

A unit of Statoil ASA and PetroFrontier Corp., Calgary, agreed to amend a mid-2012 farmout under which Statoil Australia Oil & Gas AS will become operator of an exploratory joint venture aimed at shale formations on 14 million acres in the southern Georgina basin in Australia’s Northern Territory.

Statoil joined PetroFrontier by taking a farmout (OGJ Online, June 20, 2012). Since then the two companies spent $30 million and gained valuable geological information.

The amended deal calls for Statoil to spend as much as $175 million in three phases by the end of 2016, gradually earning as much as 80% of PetroFrontier’s interest in the permits, before PetroFrontier would be required to contribute further.

Becoming operator on Sept. 1, Statoil would spend $50 million by yearend 2014 on 385 line-km of 2D seismic and the drilling and stimulation of four to six vertical exploratory wells.

The amended pact calls for Statoil to spend a further $30 million on exploration in Phase 2 in 2015 an additional $80 mlllion on Phase 3 in 2016.

Vidar Skjaeveland, vice-president of Statoil’s onshore exploration unit, said, “We believe the southern Georgina basin asset to be potentially very prospective…this deal is in line with our exploration strategy where we pursue access early and at scale to derisk the plays….”

PetroFrontier’s working interests are 100% in EP 103/104 and EPA 213/252 and 75% in EP 127-128.

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