Sonde seeks alternatives for Joint Oil block

Alternatives: Sonde hires consultant

Canadian junior Sonde Resources is on the hunt for strategic alternatives as it barrels towards a deadline to drill a well off Tunisia and Lybia.

The company in March retained Taylor-DeJongh to "initiate a process to explore and evaluate potential strategic alternatives to enhance shareholder value" with regard to the Joint Oil block, which straddles the maritime border of the two countries.

The search has involved discussions and data room visits with more than 20 international upstream players and financial institutions, Sonde said.

Calgary-based Sonde has been looking for a new partner since it cut ties late last year with Viking Exploration & Production, which could not come up with the money to fund its share of a joint venture agreement.

The Canadian player got an extension In January to drill the Fisal-1 well on the Joint Oil block. It now has until the end of November this year. If it does not drill the well by then, it will be on the hook for a $15 million penalty.

It owns and operates the block under a production-sharing contract with the Joint Oil company, which is 50% owned by Tunisia and Lybia.

Meanwhile, Sonde has progressed on ordering long-lead items to drill the well, including casing and drilling support material.

"Preparations are underway to perform the site surveys in anticipation of commencing drilling operations in early fourth quarter of 2014," Sonde said in a statement.

A 3D seismic survey acquired in late 2013 has been processed and initial evaluation of the data "confirms the potential nature of the Hadaf structure in Libyan waters".

Detailed interpretation work of the processed seismic data is underway.

Sonde also said its chief financial officer had resigned and been replaced Kurt Nelson.

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