Circle Oil Plc announced in a press release that approval has been received from the Tunisian government to acquire a permit on a block in the Cap Bon peninsula of Tunisia. The permit covers a similar area to the previously owned (now expired) Grombalia permit, in which Circle was a minority partner with Exxoil (operator). Circle will be the operator and hold a 100% working interest in the new permit and has the right to apply for conversion to production license areas in the event of exploration success.
The license covers an area of 2,820 sq km (1,089 sq miles) and is in an area that includes existing oil and gas field concessions including the Cap Bon gas field, Belli oil field, and El Manzah producing oil field. The Beni Khaled producing oil field concession, where Circle is now a 30% working interest partner (Exxoil 70% and operator) is entirely enclosed within the new permit, according to the release. Other discoveries such as Zinnia, Bir Drassen, and Tiref exist within or are close to the block, and Circle recognizes a number of prospects and many leads that have similar geological features to known accumulations. The main targets are the fractured Eocene to Upper Cretaceous carbonates and Lower Cretaceous sandstones, although other plays may be developed following collection of further data.
Circle’s work commitment includes the acquisition of 2-D and 3-D seismic surveys, followed by drilling four exploration wells within the first license phase of three years. Background studies are already completed, and the company will tender for the seismic survey at the earliest opportunity. A blockwide study has already been conducted on existing data to provide an initial view on prioritization of the targets to drill, Circle said. The block is covered by limited old multivintage 2-D seismic.
Estimates of in-place, predrill, unrisked resources on five separate structures prepared by external consultants for the previous operator range from 16 MMboe to more than 200 MMboe and total 480 MMboe. These figures will be subject to revision following the receipt of new data to be acquired by Circle, the company said. The work program will be funded out of cash flow and, subject to completion, funds from the recently announced senior debt facility.