Petroceltic primes bit in Algeria

PETROCELTIC HAS SIGNED a contract for drilling rig services with Dalma for their land rig No. 12, a 2000 horsepower drilling rig.

The rig is currently stacked in Hassi Messaoud, Algeria, and will begin mobilisation immediately to the Isarene permit (Petroceltic 75 per cent interest & Operator), for a drilling programme of four appraisal wells. 

This additional programme is further to the successful five well drilling programme undertaken in 2009/2010, which demonstrated the presence of an extensive and probably continuous gas accumulation capable of flowing at rates exceeding 30mmscf/d following fracture stimulation. 

The No. 12 rig has been in Algeria since it was newly constructed in 2007 and is expected to be on location, ready to commence drilling in October 2010 as originally planned. The duration of the drilling and testing programme is expected to be between six and seven months. 

The four well drilling and testing programme will focus on appraising the gas discoveries made on the Isarene permit by Petroceltic during 2009/10. This programmeme is fully funded following the US $120 mn equity placing completed by Petroceltic in April 2010. 

Dalma is a privately held Company that owns and operates over 20 land rigs in Algeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, India and Cameroon. Dalma has previously drilled seven wells in Algeria, for operators such as Repsol and Eon Ruhrgas. 

Petroceltic has a 75 per cent interest in the Isarene permit in association with Sonatrach, the Algerian state Oil and Gas Company, which holds the remaining 25 per cent. 

Brian O'Cathain, Chief Executive of Petroceltic commented, "Securing this rig is a significant step towards re-starting drilling operations on the Isarene permit. We expect to drill a minimum of four appraisal wells including at least one horizontal well. Drilling operations are scheduled to start in October 2010, as originally planned, with a view to the submission of a development plan (Final Discovery Report) to the Algerian Authorities at the end of this appraisal campaign. Our interpretation and analysis of the results from the five well programme in 2009/10 is progressing, supporting our belief that the Ain Tsila gas condensate discovery, on the Isarene permit, may turn out to be a world class hydrocarbon resource. We intend to announce results following completion of the individual fracture stimulation and well testing programmes for each well."

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
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