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Nido Petroleum Confirms Oil Discovery in Philippines

Nido Petroleum Ltd., the Australian explorer focusing on the Philippines, confirmed it made a discovery at the Yakal-1 well, the first oil find in the Southeast Asian nation in 14 years.

The well, in the SC 54 permit area off Palawan province, found oil extending over 78 meters (356 feet) and potentially as much as 93 meters, Perth-based Nido said today in a statement to the Australian stock exchange. The latest estimate of the oil column is bigger than Nido reported earlier this week.

The Yakal-1 well is the first to be drilled in almost 10 years in the northwest Palawan Basin, which Nido describes as the most promising offshore area in the Philippines. It will be followed by the Tindalo-1 well in the same permit. Nido said earlier this month that each of the wells is targeting a discovery of between 2 million and 20 million barrels of oil.

``The Yakal-1 discovery is an important first step in realizing the joint venture's strategy to rapidly commercialize the SC 54'' area, Nido Deputy Managing Director Joanne Williams said in the statement. Should more discoveries be made in the region, several of the finds could be combined and operated through a single production system, she said.

Nido climbed 1.8 percent to 29 Australian cents in Sydney, after reaching as high as 30.5 cents earlier in the day. Kairiki Energy Ltd., Nido's 40 percent partner in the well, closed unchanged at 20 Australian cents. Kairiki is also based in the Western Australian capital. The moves compared with a 2.2 percent advance in the exchange's benchmark energy index.

Palawan Basin

Separately, Nido said poor weather is delaying the start-up of the Galoc oil project in the Palawan Basin in which it has a stake. A replacement support vessel, able to operate in rougher seas, is due to arrive at the field on Sept. 26 and should minimize the potential for further delays, it said.

``The remaining activities before first oil are expected to take approximately 6-8 days, given suitable weather conditions,'' Galoc Production Co., the venture operator and 58 percent owner, said in a statement sent by Nido to the exchange.

Philodrill Corp., Oriental Petroleum & Minerals Corp., Forum Energy Philippines Corp., Alcorn Gold Resources Corp. and PetroEnergy Resources Corp. own stakes in the Galoc project.

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