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Volga Gas PLC (VGAS)

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Thursday 04 November, 2010

Volga Gas PLC

Operational Update

RNS Number : 5848V
Volga Gas PLC
04 November 2010

4 November 2010





Volga Gas Plc ("Volga Gas" or the "Company"), the oil and gas exploration and production group operating in the Volga Region of European Russia, is pleased to provide an update on current activities and to preview the planned work programme and capital budget for 2011.


·      Production in Q3 2010 averaged 1,376 bopd (Q2 2010: 832 bopd, Q3 2009: 1,693 bopd).

·      Oil sales price in Q3 2010 was $32.19 per barrel (Q2 2010: $31.09; Q3 2009: $29.98).

·      Successful extended well tests on Vostochny Makarovskoye.

·      Three exploration wells and one new development well planned for 2011-2012

·      Firm capital expenditure budget of $8.5 million for 2011.

·      US$25.4 million in cash at 1 November 2010.


Uzenskoye field (supra-salt Karpenskiy)

Oil production from the Uzenskoye field during Q3 2010, averaged 1,376 bopd, reflecting a sustainable and steady rate of production from four wells.  Production in Q2 2010 (832 bopd on average) was impacted by abnormal weather-related disruptions - heavy snow followed by a rapid thaw made the roads unusable preventing regular oil transportation from the wellsite.  In Q3 2009, the production (1,693 bopd on average) was from 5 wells; one of these wells has been taken off production for future workover and conversion into a water injector.


The Uzenskoye field continues to produce under natural flow and with negligible water cut.  The production rates seen in Q3 2010 have been maintained throughout October.


The short term development plans for the field include one new development well, Uzen #11, which is planned to be drilled into a currently non-producing portion of the reservoir.  It is expected to be drilled and completed during H1 2011.  In addition there will be further investment in upgrading in-field roads.


Volga Gas continued to benefit from increasing oil sales realisations.  The sales price reported of US$32.19 per barrel (net of VAT) is a netback price at the field facilities.  Since the end of Q3 2010, prices have continued to increase modestly.


Vostochny Makarovskoye

Extended test production has been carried out on the two completed wells, VM#1 and VM#2, at the Vostochny Makarovskoye field.  The wells were flowed with varying chokes to gather well pressure data and to enable an optimal production management plan for the field when it commences full time production.  The response of the field under the testing programme is in line with our expectations.


During the testing, condensate was separated and collected for sale while the gas produced was flared.  The cash flow from condensate sales offset the costs of the testing programme and provides a modest surplus.


On 24 August 2010, Volga Gas announced that a court order had been awarded against Trans Nafta for the payment of a sum of RUR 640 million (US$21 million).  The sum relates to the down payment made by Volga Gas in 2008 for a proposed acquisition of a 75% interest in a gas plant being constructed by Trans Nafta.   The legal processes relating to this case continue and will be the subject of further announcements.  Meanwhile, Volga Gas anticipates undertaking work on an existing sulphur processing unit for the Vostochny Makarovskoye field.  This unit has been partially constructed on the field site and is required for the processing of gas produced from the field.


Grafovskaya#1 (sub-salt Karpenskiy)

Further to the announcement on 21 September 2010, operations on the Grafovskaya#1 well have now been concluded, with no commercial hydrocarbon flow rates. As disclosed with the Interim Results 2010, an impairment charge of approximately US$26 million is anticipated for this well.


Work programme and budget

The 2011-2012 work programme comprises one new development well on Uzenskoye, as mentioned above, and three exploration wells:


·      Yuzhny Romanovskaya-1 in the Urozhainoye-2 licence area.  This will be drilled to a depth of approximately 2,800 metres to test Bobrikovsly horizon which is productive in the nearby fields.

·      NewWell-1 in the Pre Caspian licence area.  This is planned to be drilled to a depth of 1,500 metres targeting a supra-salt structure.

·      Novaya-1 in the Karpenskiy licence area.  This is planned to be drilled to a depth of 1,200 metres to test a sizable supra-salt structure with C3 resources reported earlier.


The first is a firm well that completes current work commitment on the Urozhainoye-2 licence.  It is expected to be drilled during H1 2011.  The other two wells are currently considered as a contingent work programme.


The cost of the firm exploration drilling outlined above has been budgeted at US$3.5 million.  In the event of success, we would anticipate further drilling on the same prospects during 2011-2012.  The development expenditure on Uzenskoye during 2011 is planned to be US$2.0 million.  In addition, the anticipated work on the existing sulphur processing unit for the Vostochny Makarovskoye field investment is expected to require investment of less than US$ 3 million.  This is expected to be largely funded by cash generated from operations.


Mikhail Ivanov, Chief Executive of Volga Gas commented:

"After the disappointing test results on Grafovskaya #1, Volga Gas is in the short term concentrating on bringing existing discoveries into production and on exploration activities in supra-salt horizons where we have a clear track record of success.


"The programme we have developed is focused on increasing both our production and reserves with exploration drilling that includes some low risk prospects as well as material high impact/high risk (but low cost) drilling.  Meanwhile, we are also continuing to work towards delivering production from the Vostochny Makarovskoye gas/condensate field and are examining further opportunities to expand our business."


- Ends -


For additional information please contact:


Volga Gas plc

Mikhail Ivanov, Chief Executive Officer

+7 (495) 721 1233

Tony Alves, Chief Financial Officer

+44 (0) 20 8622 4451

Oriel Securities, Nominated Advisor

Natalie Fortescue

Gareth Price

+44 (0)20 7710 7600

Financial Dynamics

Billy Clegg

+44 (0)20 7831 3113

Ed Westropp

Alex Beagley


Editors' notes:


Volga Gas is an independent oil and gas exploration and production company operating in the Volga region of European Russia.  The company has 100% interests in its four licence areas.


The information contained in this announcement has been reviewed and verified by Mr. Mikhail Ivanov, Director and Chief Executive Officer of Volga Gas plc, for the purposes of the Guidance Note for Mining, Oil and Gas companies issued by the London Stock Exchange. Mr. Mikhail Ivanov holds a M.S. Degree in Geophysics from Novosibirsk State University. He also has an MBA degree from Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University). He is a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers.





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