While Wessex's small 1.25% stake in Guyane venture that made the large Zaedyus oil discovery last year is believed to primary reason for acquisition, its UK assets may also have played some role in the decision.
Wessex holds a 50% in PEDL 238 and 25% in PEDL 239 with Norwest holding the remaining stakes as operator. Both permits are located close to the giant Wytch Farm field, which has produced over 400 million barrels of oil so far.
While it is not known how much the UK play influenced Total to makes its £0.10 per share offer for Wessex, it does mean the French company's not inconsiderable resources would at least be used to meet its share of expenses.
Any success that Norwest makes could also cause Total to take a greater interest in the permits, which could help accelerate any potential developments.
Norwest has spent over 3 years on extensive technical work to map the migration pathways, reservoir distribution, seal quality and structural history of PEDL 239 and surrounding regions.
This has resulted in the identification of the Razorback prospect that could 43 million barrels oil in-place or 2 million barrels risked recoverable oil in the targeted Triassic Sherwood Sandstone.
More recently, Norwest shot 54 kilometres of 2D seismic to provide the detail needed to demonstrate the prospects structural integrity.
Over in PEDL 238, the company has identified seven leads ranging in size from the large Mooneye lead to the much smaller Coho lead.
Mooneye could hold up to 53.88 million barrels of recoverable oil while Coho could hold 10.76MMbbl.
PEDL 238 also holds the Beluga lead that could hold 8.92MMbbl of recoverable oil in its PEDL 238 portion and another 6.92MMbbl in its Hurst Castle sector.