Apache discovers gas at West Kanayes in Egypt, expands exploration area

Apache Corporation (APA) announced today that Egypt's Ministry of Petroleum has finalized extension of the Khalda Offset and East Bahariya concessions in the Western Desert. The extensions will permit Apache to continue its exploration program across approximately 1.5 million acres. 

Apache also announced the West Kanayes E-1X discovery on a concession adjacent to Khalda Offset in the Matruh Basin. The well tested at an aggregate rate of 17 million cubic feet (MMcf) and 1,960 barrels of oil per day from 80 feet of net pay in three zones in the Jurassic Alam el Buieb (AEB-6) formation. 

"The West Kanayes E-1X extends AEB production eastward about four miles from production in Khalda Offset and into the sparsely drilled West Kanayes Concession," said Tom Voytovich, vice president of Apache's Egypt Region. "With the high oil rate encountered in the upper zone, this well will be produced to maximize liquids production during the time when our gas-handling capacity is facilities-constrained." 

Two additional exploratory wells are planned in 2010 for West Kanayes, where Apache is operator and has a 100-percent contractor interest. 

The Khalda Offset and East Bahariya concessions are among 22 operated by Apache in joint ventures with the Egyptian General Petroleum Corp. Apache is the largest producer and most active explorer in Egypt's Western Desert. Gross production from all Apache concessions was 175,000 barrels of oil and 752 MMcf of gas per day in the fourth quarter. Net production in the fourth quarter was 96,000 barrels and 383 MMcf per day. 

"The Western Desert is rich with exploration opportunities, with dozens of potential pay zones across a wide area," Voytovich said. "These two agreements will permit Apache to sustain our exploration program in areas where we have been successful in the past. For example, Apache's largest discovery - the Qasr Field - was drilled on the Khalda Offset Concession." 

Based on 2009 exploration success in and around the newly extended concession areas, Apache has accelerated three-dimensional seismic acquisition activities in the area along with a full slate of exploration drilling. 

At Khalda Offset, the new agreement extends the exploration phase through July 2016. Apache committed to drill at least 10 wells with a minimum capital commitment of $45 million along with a signature bonus of $35 million. The agreement covers 908,900 acres. 

At East Bahariya, the new concession agreement extends the exploration phase through July 2012. Apache committed to drill at least three wells with a minimum financial commitment of $10 million and a signature bonus of $4 million. The agreement covers approximately 673,800 acres.

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