Upland Resources, an upstream-focused company, said the Tunisian government accepted it application for an exclusive hydrocarbon exploration and appraisal licence in onshore northern Tunisia.
The oil and gas company actively building a portfolio of attractive upstream assets, said the licence covers 4,004 square kilometres of ‘attractive’ open acreage comprising the Saouf Permit.
“The company believes there is the potential for very substantial quantities of recoverable gas within the permit area,” Upland said about the prediction which is based on its technical work in the area. The company’s exploration plans are also partly de-risked by an existing gas discovery in the area made 50 years ago, before the advent of local gas markets, Upland added.
“As a team, we have several decades of experience and knowledge of exploring in Tunisia,” Steve Staley, CEO of Upland Resources Limited, said. “We believe that Saouaf will form an important part of Upland’s portfolio and will be integral to our strategy of acquiring high impact, quality assets, as already illustrated by our farm-in to the Wick prospect.”
Meanwhile, there are also existing gas pipelines that cross the permit area, which currently have spare capacity and provide access to attractive existing local gas markets.
The permit also allows the company further scope to build on this initial acreage position.
“With the demand for gas supporting prices, I see this as an exciting opportunity for Upland and look forward to providing more details to shareholders in due course. This opportunity would fit well with the timeframe for the Wick well, which is to spud in September 2018,” Staley added.
Upland said it will act as operator and hold a majority stake in the permit but in the event of a new discovery the state oil company ETAP (as joint venture partner) would have a right to “back-in” for a minority stake by paying its share of past costs and funding its share of future costs.
Upland has offered a work programme that includes an initial new 2D seismic survey, which the company is fully funded to undertake, followed by drilling one or more new wells, drilling of any wells being conditional on the results of the seismic survey.