Sundance Energy Australia Limited (ASX: SEA) will drill five wells later this year in a highly prospective area of Indiana following a significant expansion of its exploration activities in the United States.
Sundance announced today that, in collaboration with other US energy interests, it has acquired leases covering approximately 8,300 mineral acres in the new prospect.
The Company projects assembling a block of as much as 50,000 mineral acres in the play, netting Sundance approximately 22,500 acres in the gas-rich Illinois Basin.
This new prospect in Indiana represent a significant expansion of US activity for the Adelaide-based company which is currently exploring for oil and gas in the US states of Oklahoma and Montana. Sundance also has exploration interests in South Australia's Cooper-Eromanga Basin.
"We are excited to have commenced our development program in the Illinois Basin leading up to our five well pilot program in the new prospect later this year," Sundance Managing Director, Mr. Jayme McCoy, said today.
"This opportunity fits neatly with our ongoing efforts to acquire oil and gas assets which complement and enhance our Company's long-term growth strategy."
The Illinois Basin prospect's primary target formation is the gas-rich New Albany Shale. The formation in the prospect area is quite shallow, less than 1500 feet (457 metres) deep, allowing for cost effective development.
Other major US oil and gas explorers have been successful recently in exploiting the New Albany Shale using horizontal drilling technology.
Those companies' experiences in the play, in conjunction with a comprehensive assessment of the targeted horizon prepared by the Gas Research Institute, contributed to Sundance's development decision for the Basin.
"The New Albany Shale in this area has been productive since the late 1800s, and the economic fundamentals of the prospect - from lease acquisition costs and terms, to drilling expenses - bode well for the play's long-term prospects," Mr McCoy said.
About SUNDANCE ENERGY AUSTRALIA LIMITED: Sundance Energy Australia Ltd. is an Adelaide-based, independant energy exploration company. Its wholly owned US subsidiary, Sundance Energy, Inc., is located in Boulder, Colorado, USA. Sundance was created for the purpose of acquiring and exploring oil and gas rich acreage in Australia and the United States. Presently the Company owns acreage in the Cooper/Eromanga Basin of Australia totalling approximately 2,500,000 acres (4,000 sq. km.). In addition, Sundance owns oil and gas rights in greater than 8,500 mineral acres in the Arkoma Basin of Oklahoma, and approximately 3,000 mineral acres in the prolific Elm Coulee Bakken shale oil field in Montana. The Oklahoma prospect is focused on shallow, non conventional, blanket gas resevoirs, while the Montana prospect targets over-pressured shale oil resevoirs. The Australian permits are focused on larger, more conventional oil and gas structures. For 2006, Sundance expects to drill a minimum of three wells in Australia and ten wells in the
Mr Jayme McCoy
Sundance Energy Australia
Managing Director (in the United States)
TEL: +1 303 543 5707.