Spike snags more of Garantiana

Drilling ahead: semisub Leiv Eiriksson at Garantiana 2 appraisal

Spike Exploration is beefing up its stake in the Garantiana discovery off Norway through an asset swap deal with Det Norske Oljeselskap that will see the latter gain an interest in the Asha find.

Norwegian newcomer Spike is handing over to Det Norske its 20% stake in production licence 457 that hosts Asha, gained through its acquisition last year of Bridge Energy that is now a wholly-owned subsidiary.

Det Norske is looking to wrap the Wintershall-operated find into its Ivar Aasen field that is currently under development and said unitisation talks between the respective licence partners are expected to be concluded at the end of this month.

The proposed swap deal, still subject to regulatory approval, would give the Oslo-listed independent an entry ticket into the Asha licence, located in the Utsira High area, into which the Ivar Aasen field extends.

Det Norske would effectively replace Spike as partner in Asha once the transaction is finalised, with Wintershall holding a 40% operating stake in the licence and remaining partners E.ON E&P and VNG on 20% each.

In return, Spike will gain an additional 10% interest in PL554/B/C that hosts the Total-operated Garantiana oil discovery to give it a total 30% stake, while Det Norske would reduce its share in the licence to 10%.

Semi-submersible Leiv Eiriksson recently spudded the Garantiana 2 appraisal well at the find in the northern North Sea with the aim of boosting the current recoverable resource estimate of between 25 million and 75 million barrels of oil.

Spike said it is hoped the appraisal would secure commerciality of the discovery, located north-east of the Visund field, with plans to drill two more prospects as an extension and a sidetrack to the current well.

It added there are also “excellent candidates for further exploration drilling” in the licence.

Spike chief executive Bjorn Inge Tonnessen said the deal with Det Norske would strengthen the private equity-backed player’s exploration and appraisal portfolio “in line with our strategy of being an exploration company”.

At the same time, it is shedding cash commitments for development of Asha under the proposed unitisation with Ivar Aasen.

Total holds a 40% operating stake in the Garantiana licence with remaining partner Svenska Petroleum on 20%.

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