Pioneer agrees to buy Gulf Canada's interest in Tunisia

Pioneer Natural Resources Co. has agreed to buy Gulf Canada Tunisia, which means acquiring Gulf Canada's 40% participating interest in the Borj El Khadra (BEK) permit in the Ghadames basin in Tunisia.

By OGJ editors

HOUSTON, July 8 -- Pioneer Natural Resources Co., Dallas, has agreed to buy Gulf Canada Tunisia Ltd., which means acquiring Gulf Canada's 40% participating interest in the Borj El Khadra (BEK) permit in the Ghadames basin in southern Tunisia.

The deal remains subject to Tunisian government approval. Following the government's approval, Pioneer will be the third largest permit holder on in Tunisia, with permits covering 5 million acres.

Scott D. Sheffield, Pioneer chairman and CEO, said, "We believe this block is a great complement to our existing acreage position in Tunisia. The Silurian Acacus sandstone play active in Libya and the prolific TAGI sandstone play in Algeria that extend into southern Tunisia offer exciting exploration targets on our extensive acreage position."

Pioneer will join a unit of Italy's Agip SPA, the permit operator, and Paladin Expro Ltd., a unit of London-based Paladin Resources PLC, in exploring the 1.2 million acre permit. The BEK permit is adjacent to the Anaguid permit operated by a subsidiary of Anadarko Petroleum Corp., Houston, where Pioneer holds 30% interest.

Pioneer also holds 50% interest and operates the Bazma, Jorf, and El Hamra permits to the north. Those three permits cover 2.7 million acres in the TAGI sand play of the Ghadames basin (OGJ Online, May 30, 2001).

Pioneer plans to participate in the next exploratory well in the BEK permit, anticipated this month, targeting the Silurian Acacus sand play. The BEK permit borders the Agip-operated Oued Zar field, where 10 wells produce oil and gas from the Silurian Acacus sandstone as near as 1 km from the BEK boundary.

The Silurian Acacus play is an emerging play in the Ghadames basin and offers many of the same advantages of the TAGI play already targeted by Pioneer, including proximity to existing production and infrastructure, prolific reservoirs, and low development costs, the company said.


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