Business Editors VANCOUVER, British Columbia--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Feb. 7, 2000-- (CDNX:CBN) (CDNX:POE) (CDNX:PRP) (OTC Bulletin Board:TRIL) (CDNX:ASV) David Patterson Chairman of the EKHO Project consortium is pleased to announce that the EKHO No. 1 test well was spudded February 7, 2000 and is drilling ahead toward a target depth of 19,500 feet, according to Tri-Valley Oil & Gas Co., operator of the EKHO Project. Located 40 miles northwest of Bakersfield, California, the EKHO No. 1 is the first of three wells scheduled to test a large structurally controlled stratigraphic trap identified geologically and confirmed by seismic data. The target formation is in the Temblor sandstones, a thick package of Middle and Lower Miocene horizons in which previous drilling identified oil and hydrocarbon prone sections. Nine Canadian Venture Exchange (CDNX) resource companies and various individual investors have funded the EKHO No. 1. The EKHO Consortium includes Aster Ventures Corp, (ASV.V) with a 20% working interest, Curion Venture Corp. (CUV.V) 20%, Lucre Ventures Ltd. (LVD.V) 12%hire International Mining Ltd. (BKR.V) 10%, CVL Resources (CVL.V) 9.64%, Consolidated Bradbury International Equities (CBN.V) 5%, Curlew Lake Resources (CWQ.V) 5%, Pan Ocean Explorations (POE.V) 5% and Prairie Pacific Energy Corporation (PRP.V) 5%. Pursuant to the terms of the Participation Agreement, TRIL will be carried for 12.5% interest through drilling and completion. After completion, TRIL will pay its proportionate share of well costs. After the partners are paid back their drilling and completion costs from production, TRIL will back in for an additional 12.5% to bring its total working interest to 25% in the entire project. The south San Joaquin Valley, and its southernmost county, Kern, is emerging as North America's hottest onshore deep exploration area. With the shallower zones having given up approximately 13 billion barrels from over 100,000 wells drilled in the south San Joaquin Valley, a tremendous deep exploration frontier exists where less than 70 wells have penetrated below 15,000 feet, and most off-structure. In some areas, there is a sediment thickness of as much as 45,000 feet with many of the prolific oil and gas producing formations diving deeper due to the extensive faulting of the area bounded by the active San Andreas Fault. Some of the deeper wells include the Tenneco/Union/Great Basins Petroleum 66X-3, which holds the record as America's deepest oil producer at 18,878 feet. It was abandoned early due to downhole problems shortly after being completed and is now owned by Tri-Valley and the EKHO Project consortium, which plans a later reentry to attempt recompletion of shallower, previously untested zones. Another nearby well, the Great Basins/Tenneco 31X-10, held the California depth record of 21,640 feet for many years and flowed 1,000 barrels a day through a crack in the lap cement before being abandoned due to completion and partner problems. The EKHO No.1 will offset both of these wells and the Company believes the well risk is not so much geological as it is downhole mechanical drilling and completion risk. Accordingly, Tri-Valley hired Joe Kandle in mid-1998. Mr. Kandle had been senior drilling engineer for Mobil Oil on the 20,754-foot Mobil-Tupman well on the south end of the EKHO Project and then Great Basins Petroleum's vice president of engineering on the Great Basins/Tenneco 31X-10 depth record holder and the Tenneco/Union/Great Basins 66X-3. "These deep wells were drilled over 25 years ago and equipment and technology advances give Tri-Valley a new opportunity to get what we already know is there," said Kandle, now president of Tri-Valley Oil & Gas Co., a subsidiary of publicly traded Tri-Valley Corporation. The conventional industry wisdom of tight sands at depth was recently overturned by the spectacular blowout of the Bellevue No. 1 at 17,646 feet on November 23, 1998. Drilled on the northwest flank of the EKHO Project by a different Canadian/U.S. consortium, the well's "Middle East" flow rates defied numerous attempts to control it until a relief well was drilled six months later. So far, the Bellevue group has yet to obtain commercial production but is continuing its efforts under a different operator. "Tri-Valley is building on several previous tests by others and has the advantage of 25 years of industry advances as well as the experiences of Joe Kandle and his team who have all drilled deep, high pressure, high temperature wells," said F. Lynn Blystone, president and chief executive officer of Tri-Valley Corporation, the publicly traded parent (OTC BB "TRIL") of Tri-Valley Oil & Gas Co., EKHO Project operator. On Behalf of the EKHO Project Consortium "David Patterson", Chairman The Canadian Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
EKHO Announces #1 Drilling Underway