FOG provided further progress on its rig contract negotiations and certain changes to its license arrangements.
Changes to license arrangements
On March 30, 2011 FOGL signed a binding Heads of Agreement with its joint venture partner, BHP Billiton, that provides for the exit of BHP Billiton from the Northern license area once certain conditions have been satisfied, including approval of the Falkland Islands Government to both the assignment of BHP Billiton's 51% interest and transfer of operatorship to FOGL.
In relation to this withdrawal BHP Billiton will contribute towards the costs of drilling the Loligo well, by placing funds in an escrow account. The funds are to be drawn by FOGL against the costs of drilling the Loligo well. In the event that the Loligo well encounters hydrocarbons, BHP Billiton will have the option to back in to the Loligo development area only, for a maximum 40% non-operating interest in the discovery, in return for making a cash contribution to FOGL's future exploration and appraisal costs. Such a reassignment of interests will also be subject to approval by the Falkland Islands Government.
The settlement with BHP Billiton will, together with other funds available to FOGL, provide FOGL with total cash resources of US $110 million. These cash resources will be sufficient to fund the Loligo well, other exploration expenditures and allow the Company to fulfill the Phase 1 work commitment of the Northern license area.
Further to its announcement on March 15, the company is close to finalizing a rig contract for its deep water exploration program.
FOGL is also considering additional drilling options. The site survey program is progressing well, with surveys already completed on three locations. FOGL is considering the most appropriate means of financing and advancing these options and is in discussion with several parties that are interested in farming in to its licenses.
Tim Bushell, Chief Executive of FOGL, said, "We are pleased to have made good progress in our rig contract negotiations and to have reached an amicable agreement with our joint venture partner that gives FOGL control over its deepwater exploration program, commencing with the drilling of the Loligo prospect."