The previously announced acquisition of ATP Oil & Gas UK shares by Alpha Petroleum (UK) Holdings Limited is scheduled to complete on Monday 10th February.
The news has been reported by Independent Oil and Gas Plc (IOG), a partner in the ATP UK-operated Skipper and Blythe licences in the UK North Sea. According to IOG, ATP UK has said the Department of Energy and Climate Change (“DECC”) has confirmed in writing that conditional on completion of that acquisition the Skipper and Blythe licences, which are held jointly with Independent Oil and Gas Plc (“IOG”), will be extended by 18 months.
“ATP UK and IOG both wish to progress the appraisal of the Skipper discovery expeditiously. Following technical evaluation, assisted by AGR Well Management, the co-venturers have agreed that a well spud date in summer 2014 may be achieved without compromise to safety, timing or the technical objectives for the well. This timing is subject to funding, and shareholder approval, for the co- venturers and rig availability,” ATP UK said in a statement.
ATP UK further said: “The licensees also wish to achieve first gas for the Blythe Field as soon as practicable. The agreed aim is to finalise the FDP for submission to DECC in Q3 2014, secure various 3rd party agreements in respect of the Blythe export route and confirm site survey vessel availability.”
ATP UK owns 50% of each of the Blythe and Skipper licences with IOG owning the remaining 50%.
In December last year, IOG announced there was a possibility that IOG would take over operatorship over the licences, but the company today revealed that ATP UK would continue as operator.
Mark Routh, CEO of IOG said: “Following discussions with the operator, we now feel confident that the continued appraisal and development of our key assets will be progressed with minimal delay. This is very good news for both IOG and its shareholders. We will now have a fully funded and aligned partner. We also have confirmation from DECC of their intention to grant significant licence extensions to facilitate that. We will keep the market updated of our progress on these key assets. In light of these important steps, we feel it is in the best interests of all parties for ATP UK to continue as operator. IOG will continue to support this work as an active and technically strong50% partner. IOG has made significant progress towards qualifying as an operator and this will stand us in good stead with regards to opportunities in the recently announced 28th licence round and other potential acquisitions.”