Serica has been awarded a Licensing Option 11/1 (the "License") covering six blocks in the Irish Rockall Basin under the Irish 2011 Atlantic Margin Licensing Round. The area covered by the License, awarded by the Petroleum Affairs Division of the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, is immediately adjacent to the block containing the Dooish gas-condensate discovery and is a significant addition to Serica's existing Exploration Lenience 1/09 which contains the Muckish prospect just to the north-east.
The License award covers Blocks 11/5, 11/10, 11/15, 12/1, 12/6 and 12/11(part), an area of approximately 1,230 square kilometres in the Rockall Basin. Together with Serica's existing Exploration License, covering Blocks 5/17, 5/18, 5/22, 5/23, 5/27 and 5/28, Serica now has two licenses to explore some 2,220 square kilometres in the Rockall Basin covering an area of proven hydrocarbon potential in which large prospective structures have already been identified from existing 3D seismic data.
The area covered by the License award contains two pre-Cretaceous fault block prospects, Midleton and West Midleton which are analogous to the proven gas-condensate bearing Dooish structure lying immediately to the east. These complement and provide additional diversity to the Muckish prospect lying in Serica's acreage just to the north east. Given the size of the prospects and their position in a proven gas-condensate bearing basin, the award of the License significantly expands the options open to Serica to deliver an active drilling campaign in the area.
Under the terms of the License award Serica will undertake 2D and 3D seismic reprocessing work and other geological studies in the first two years to firm up the prospects following which the Company has an option to convert the License into a full Exploration License.
Commenting on the award, Tony Craven Walker, Chairman and Interim CEO, said, "The award of the new License is a considerable addition to Serica's exploration interests in Ireland. Serica's discovery of oil in the Slyne Basin in 2009 and our growing acreage position in the Rockall Basin, where we see relatively low risk potential for large discoveries, gives us a strong presence in the emerging Irish Atlantic Margin. The award of the new blocks puts Serica in a particularly strong acreage position in the Rockall Basin where initial exploration results have already shown considerable promise. The size of the prospects in the Rockall Basin, coupled with the clear demonstration of a working petroleum system following the discovery of Dooish, gives clear optimism for the potential of the area."