HOUSTON, Nov. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA) said today that it has been awarded petroleum exploration acreage that will provide opportunities to find new resources near its core operations in the United Kingdom sector of the North Sea as well as a new entry in the Equatorial Margin play fairway offshore of the Republic of Suriname.
"Adding acreage to bolster Apache's drilling inventory in the North Sea and securing a high-potential exploration area offshore Suriname illustrate Apache's commitment to adding production and reserves through the drillbit," said Rodney J. Eichler, Apache's president and chief operating officer.
In the North Sea, the UK Department of Energy & Climate Change awarded 11 new licenses to Apache as operator and a nonoperated interest in one additional license. The licenses cover 19 full or partial blocks (613,316 gross acres or 2,482 square kilometers). Apache agreed to drill six wells and acquire a new 3-D seismic survey."This was a very successful outcome that will provide avenues for continued growth near our major producing assets as well as high-potential exploration targets in the Central Graben area of the North Sea," said James L. House, vice president and managing director of Apache's North Sea Region. "We obtained all of the available acreage around our Beryl Field plus a key license near the Forties Field." The economic prospectivity of these areas was enhanced by recent improvements in the UK tax allowance schemes involving small fields and high-pressure, high-temperature fields, House said. Apache plans to acquire its third 4-D seismic survey over the Forties area in 2013 since becoming the operator in 2003 and complete the remaining 560 km 2 of a new 1,500 km 2 3-D survey in the Beryl area in 2013 that was started this summer. This will be the first new 3-D seismic survey acquired over the Beryl complex since 1997. In Suriname, Apache signed a production sharing agreement with Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname NV – the national oil company – for Block 53, a 867,117-acre (3,509 km 2) area located in 1,640-5,900 feet (500-1,800 meters) of water about 80 miles (130 km) offshore. Apache agreed to a work program that includes a 3-D seismic program expected to begin in 2013 and two exploration wells. Apache has a 100-percent participating interest in the block. Staatsolie has an option to obtain a 20-percent participating interest in commercial fields discovered on the block.