Australia: Carnarvon Zola area acreage swap set

A unit of Tap Oil Ltd., Perth, has entered into an agreement with a subsidiary of Apache Corp. to exchange a 13.555% interest in the WA-320-P exploration permit for a corresponding 13.555% interest in the Part II area of the adjacent WA-155-P exploration permit in the Carnarvon basin offshore Western Australia.

Apache will operate both permits. The Palmerston gas prospect straddles the two permits, and the new WA-320P joint venture is looking at drilling it in late 2013 or 2014 rather than in 2015.

Troy Hayden, Tap’s managing director and chief executive officer, said that the success of the Zola-1 discovery in WA-290-P has improved the commercial potential of the Palmerston prospect in WA-320-P (OGJ Online, Feb. 27, 2011). The equity swap gives Tap access to the entire prospect while managing the 33.333% equity exposure the company had previously in WA-320-P.

The acreage swap is subject to Foreign Investment Review Board approval and other approvals as are standard for a transaction of this type. Subject to receipt of these approvals, the effective date of the transaction is July 1, 2012.

Post-farmout equity interests are in WA-320-P Apache 40.665%, OMV Australia Pty. Ltd. 39.557%, and Tap (Shelfal) Pty. Ltd. 19.778%, and in WA-155-P Apache 40.668%, OMV Australia 27.110%, Inpex Alpha Ltd. 18.667%, and Tap (Shelfal) 13.555%.

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