Infrastrata PLC (INFA) - Exploration Update
RNS Number : 9405R
26 November 2012
26 November 2012
For Immediate Release
("InfraStrata" or the "Company")
InfraStrata plc (AIM:INFA), the independent petroleum exploration and gas
storage company, is pleased to provide an update on its exploration
activities. The Company is also separately releasing today its final results
for the year ended 31July 2012.
The past six months have seen significant progress in both its project areas.
Larne-Lough Neagh Basin, Northern Ireland (Operator, 46% net interest)
The PL1/10 licence was awarded to InfraStrata in March 2011 and covers an area
of 663 square kilometres. A second seismic survey completed in June 2012,
increased the total new 2D data acquired for the Company by Tesla Exploration
International Limited to 400 kilometres. Processing of the data was completed
by Fugro Seismic Imaging Limited in early October 2012. Interpretation of the
data by Merlin Energy Resources Limited for the InfraStrata led joint venture
has resulted in the mapping of more than twenty leads within this large
The licence covers the central part of the Larne-Lough Neagh Basin. There has
been a limited amount of drilling in the Larne-Lough Neagh Basin over the past
40 years; largely for coal exploration and geothermal feasibility. These wells
did however confirm the development of good sandstone reservoirs and seals
within the thick Permo-Triassic sedimentary section, similar to those found in
the prolific East Irish Sea Basin. Oil-prone source rocks have been identified
on the margins of the Basin within the Carboniferous section, and gas-prone
coals have also been mined to the west in the Coalisland area, and along the
North Antrim coast. The basin is also along trend from the Midland Valley of
Scotland where oil and gas prone rocks of Carboniferous age are well known. It
is anticipated that in the more deeply buried areas of the Larne-Lough Neagh
Basin the Carboniferous will have been buried sufficiently to generate oil and
possibly also gas.
Only one petroleum exploration well has been drilled previously within the
licence area, a well drilled by Shell and Marathon in 1971, prior to any
seismic being acquired. The basin was largely ignored by the industry while
other areas in the UK were extensively explored in the 1970s and 1980s. One of
the reasons for this lack of attention was the presence of thick basalts
extensively covering the surface of County Antrim. The properties of the
basalts were a significant challenge to the acquisition and processing of
seismic data. Recent technological advances are opening up sub-basalt plays
around the world. The two seismic campaigns by InfraStrata, undertaken in 2011
and 2012, have proved successful in imaging structures below the basalt.
A trend of structures within the eastern half of the licence has been
high-graded. An initial "most likely" estimate of the prospective resources,
by the joint venture partners, for the first of these prospects that the
partners would like to drill is approximately 13 million barrels of oil
("mmbo") recoverable (net 6 mmbo to InfraStrata) within the primary Triassic
Sherwood Sandstone target at a depth of approximately 650 metres below ground
level. Additional reservoir targets will be evaluated in deeper Permian and
Carboniferous sandstones. As with any new exploration province anywhere, the
presence of a working petroleum basin remains the highest risk of the play and
can only be resolved by drilling. Success with the first well would have the
potential to open up a new play fairway within the licence with multiple
reservoir targets in multiple prospects.
The joint venture proposes to drill its first exploration well during 2013.
Work has now commenced on identifying a suitable surface site from which to
drill, and engaging with local stakeholders. InfraStrata intends, if possible,
to coordinate the drilling of this well with the appraisal well planned during
2013 for the Islandmagee project, a salt cavern gas storage venture in which
the Company is also a partner.
Wessex Basin, Southern England (Operator, 78% net interest)
The P1918 licence, offshore adjacent to the Dorset coast, covering an area of
584square kilometres, was awarded to the Company effective February 2012.
A total of seven wells have previously been drilled within the licence area,
including the first UK offshore well in 1963 on Lulworth Banks. Six of these
wells encountered oil or gas shows and three flowed oil or gas on test. Within
and immediately adjacent to the licence area there are also a number of active
oil and gas seeps.
The InfraStrata led joint venture has purchased approximately 3,500 kilometres
of existing 2D seismic data, and three existing 3D surveys, within or adjacent
to the licence. The advances in technology and higher petroleum prices mean
that the licensees are hopeful of being able to develop one of the existing
discoveries profitably as a base from which to appraise the full potential of
Over the past two months this data has been interpreted by Geosolutions
Limited on behalf of the group. The focus has been on the offshore extension
of the Purbeck Prospect, an anticline in the east of the licence, up dip of
the onshore well Southard Quarry-1, which encountered petroleum in Jurassic
and Triassic reservoirs during 1989 but which was not tested. The new mapping
of the Purbeck Prospect shows it covering an area of approximately 13 square
kilometres at the primary target level, the majority within the P1918 licence.
An initial "most likely" estimate of the prospective resources, by the joint
venture partners, for the primary reservoir objective, the Triassic Sherwood
Sandstone, is approximately 100 billion cubic feet ("bcf") of gas recoverable
(net 78 bcf to InfraStrata). An appraisal well is now required to test the
productivity of the reservoir at a depth of approximately 2,500 metres below
ground level. The well will also be designed to evaluate two Jurassic
reservoirs where oil was encountered in the Southard Quarry-1 well.
InfraStrata is now going to reprocess approximately 250 kilometres of 2D
seismic data to further define the sub-surface target location for a new
appraisal well. It is proposed to drill the well directionally from an onshore
location to the offshore within Block 98/11 of licence P1918. The joint
venture intends to submit a planning application in Q1 2013, and it is
anticipated that the first appraisal well will commence drilling before the
end of 2013, subject to consents and funding.
Further technical work will be undertaken to refine the prospect inventory in
both exploration projects and the Company propose to commission a Competent
Persons Report on completion of this work during the first half of 2013.
UK 27^th Seaward Licensing Round
Two licence applications, covering seven whole or part blocks, were submitted
with partners in 27^th Seaward Licensing Round. All the blocks applied for are
subject to Department of Energy and Climate Change ("DECC") environmental
assessments before any offer is made. The Company expects the award of these
blocks to take place in a further tranche of licence awards by DECC during Q2
Commenting on the status of exploratory activities, Andrew Hindle, CEO of
InfraStrata plc said:
"Good progress has been made in assessing and defining the prospectivity
within the Company's exploration acreage. The coming year will see an
increasing focus of the Company's activities towards its exploration
portfolio. The upside potential of the licences for the Company is very
significant. Characterisation of the primary prospects in each licence will
continue as preparations are made for drilling and testing the plays, which is
expected during the second half of 2013.
In Northern Ireland our success at imaging good sized structures below the
basalt, where the presence of good Permian and Triassic reservoirs are known,
is particularly exciting. In Dorset, the potential to drill an appraisal well
on a structure where a well has already encountered oil and gas within the
prospect closure offers a different and equally exciting risk profile.
The funding of InfraStrata's share of exploratory activity has traditionally
been through the introduction of partners at the assets level. A portion of
the first well in Northern Ireland is already funded under an existing
farm-out agreement. We expect to see continued significant interest from
industry partners in our acreage and will assess the options for securing the
balance of the funding for the exploration and appraisal wells in due course."
For further information please contact:
Andrew Hindle, Chief Executive
Officer020 8332 1200
Craig Gouws, Chief Financial Officer
Financial PR - Buchanan
Richard Darby/Gabriella Clinkard
020 7466 5000
Nominated Advisor and Broker - Arden Partners plc
Richard Day/Justine Waldisberg
020 7614 5917
Notes to Editors:
Background on InfraStrata plc
InfraStrata is an independent petroleum exploration and gas storage company.
The Company is focused on two areas in the UK, in Dorset, England and Antrim,
Background on Licence PL1/10
The petroleum licence PL1/10 (Central Larne - Lough Neagh Basin) was awarded
in March 2011 by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment. The
licence covers an area of 663 square kilometres. The initial licence term is
five years with a decision on drilling a well required within three years.
InfraStrata is the operator of the licence and holds a 30% direct interest,
and an additional interest via a 40% shareholding in partner company Brigantes
The partners in the licence are:
InfraStrata plc 30%
Brigantes Energy Limited 40%
Cairn Energy plc 20%
Terrain Energy Limited 10%
Background on Licence P1918
The licence was awarded by the Department of Energy and Climate Change in the
second tranche of offers for the 26th Seaward Licensing Round with an
effective date of February 2012. The licence covers three offshore Blocks
97/14, 97/15 and 98/11, covering an area of 584 square kilometres adjacent to
the Dorset coast close to the giant Wytch Farm oilfield. The initial licence
term will be four years with a decision on drilling a well required within the
first two years.
InfraStrata is the operator of the licence and holds a 70% direct interest,
and an additional interest via a 40% shareholding in partner company Corfe
The partners in the licence are:
InfraStrata plc 70%*
Corfe Energy Limited 20%
Cairn Energy plc 10%
*Note: Subject to a 7.5% share of profits, payable to eCORP Oil & Gas UK
Limited, on a 50% licence interest.
Further information is available on the Company's website
In accordance with the AIM Rules - Note for Mining and Oil and Gas Companies,
the information contained in this announcement has been reviewed and signed
off by the Chief Executive Officer of InfraStrata plc Dr Andrew Hindle, a
Chartered Geologist with over 25 years' experience.
This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange
MSCFEUFWDFESEFF -0- Nov/26/2012 07:00 GMT
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