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Red Emperor Resources flags first spud for Dharoor Valley block

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Red Emperor Resources (LON:RMP, ASX:RMP) says Africa Oil (CVE:AOI), its joint venture partner and operator for the Dharoor Valley block in Puntland, is making final preparations to commence a two well drilling campaign on the prospect.

Africa Oil plans to spud the first well in the fourth quarter of 2011. Drilling locations have been selected over two “robust prospects”, each targeting gross best estimate oil in place of around 900 million barrels.

Contracts for a drilling rig and third party services are in advanced stages of negotiations with contract execution scheduled for early August.

Red Emperor adds: “The Puntland government and Dharoor Valley communities are fully supportive of the drilling project and have ensured they will do all to allow the project to move forward safely and expeditiously.”

As previously announced, Africa Oil has entered into a letter of intent for the creation of a new Puntland focused oil exploration company to be named Horn Petroleum Corp.

Horn Petroleum will be created as a result of the sale of Africa Oil's subsidiaries that hold its oil and gas properties in Puntland, Somalia.

On 2 August 2011 Horn Petroleum completed a US$41 million capital raising, with assistance from Africa Oil. These proceeds will be used to fund Horn Petroleum's share of costs associated with the drilling of two exploratory wells in the Dharoor Valley Block.

Red Emperor's executive director Greg Bandy says: "We are delighted that our joint venture partner and Puntland operator, Africa Oil Corp., along with the Puntland Government have settled on mutually agreeable terms that will finally see a well(s) drilled in Puntland, Somalia this year.”

Along with Africa Oil, Red Emperor Resources’ other collaborator in Puntland is Range Resources (LON:RRL, ASX:RRS), with each of the latter two holding 20% stakes in both the Dharoor valley license and another highly prospective area in the semi-autonomous region of Somalia called Nugaal.

Together, these two exploration areas cover over 36,000square kilometres and have independently been assessed to potentially contain a combined 19 billion barrels of oil in-place.

Range and Red Emperor are also collaborating in a venture in the Republic of Georgia, with a focus on onshore blocks VIa and VIb, covering 6,500 square kilometres. Two wells are to be drilled this year as part of the proposed drill program there.

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