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Petroceltic International says no exposure to Oryx-1 dry well in Tunisia

Irish oil and gas exploration company Petroceltic International (LON:PCI) has announced that the Oryx-1 exploration well on the Ksar Hadada Permit in Tunisia will now be plugged and abandoned after failing to discover any economic resources, while noting that it had zero financial exposure in the programme.

The well was drilled under budget and encountered oil shows in both the upper and lower Ordovician reservoir units, but log analysis indicated that no significant oil saturation was present in these reservoirs at that location. The well will now be plugged and abandoned, without testing, and the CTF Rig 06 will be moved to commence drilling of Sidi Toui-4.

Both Oryx-1 and Sidi Toui-4 wells form part of the work programme in the PetroAsian Energy Holdings Limited farm-in agreement - with Independent Resources PLC (LON:IRG- , which committed PetroAsian to financing all of the joint venture's work commitments in the current programme, including the drilling of these two wells, up to US$14.5 million.

“The results of this well will be used to high-grade the Ordovician prospect inventory for the Ksar Hadada permit. We are pleased to now focus on the drilling of the Sidi Toui-4 deviated well and our evaluation of the Sidi Toui Structure,” said chief executive of Petroceltic International Brian O’Cathain.

Independent expert assessment by Blackwatch Petroleum Services has indicated a most likely contingent resource of the Sidi Touri structure of 88 mmbbls (million barrels) oil with a 40% chance of success to a well.

Oryx-1 had an estimated dry hole cost of approximately US$4.35 million. Ksar Hadada is being explored through a joint venture between PetroAsian, with a 52.96% interest, Petroceltic with its 27.03% stake and Independent Resources which has a 18.97% interest. There are also two minor interest holders, with GA.I.A srl Holding and Derwent Resources each owning 1.5%.

Shares in Independent Resources slipped 17.5%, while Petroceltic lost just 3% in late morning trade.