Hardman still playing high stakes

Hardman Resources NL, which has divested of most of its Australian hydrocarbon assets to concentrate on overseas ventures, is still on track with two major projects which could make or break the junior explorer.

The Woodside-British Borneo joint venture has spent more than required according to its agreement with Hardman to fund a

technical evaluation totalling 10,359 kilometres of 2D seismic on blocks 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 offshore Mauritania.

This has defined high-priority targets within the deep water portions of blocks 3, 4 and 5 where several promising leads have been identified.

Hardman managing director Ted Ellyard said technical studies have indicated that significant exploration potential exists in the deep water tertiary basin where mature source rocks, turbidite sand reservoirs and salt tectonics are prognosed to be present.

“This type of deep water prospect has not been tested previously by drilling and is the main focus of exploration by the JV,” Mr Ellyard said.

The targets identified within these blocks have potential oil

volumes ranging from moderate to very large and have similar seismic characteristics to other West African producing fields.

Mr Ellyard said the JV will spend US$13 million on a large 3D seismic survey to select sites for drilling, with commitment for the first well to be made before 22 December this year and spudding to follow by the end of next year.

Under the farmin agreement, after funding 100 per cent of initial exploration and drilling costs estimated at US$35 million, Hardman will retain interests of 24.3 per cent, 21.6 per cent and 22.5 per cent respectively in three areas.

The company’s other main iron in the fire is the Fiume Tevere gas play near Rome in Italy, where drilling has been delayed pending the finalising of environmental and safety documentation.

“We hope to have that finalised this week, with drilling to follow later this year or early next year” Mr Ellyard said.

The other project of interest, the Fuga Island prospect in GSEC 84 licence area, in the Philippines, is also on track with all hurdles expected to be clear for drilling by the first half of 2000.

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