Europa holds two permits in the Aquitaine basin: Bearn des Gaves and Tarbes Val d'Adour.
Bearn des Gaves (100%)
Europa holds a 100% interest in the onshore Bearn des Gaves permit in the Aquitaine basin, the heartland of the French oil industry. The permit contains two prospects: Berenx Deep and Berenx Shallow.
- Berenx Deep is an appraisal project having previously been explored and drilled by EssoRep with two wells, Berenx-1 (1969) and Berenx-2 (1972), both encountering strong gas shows over a 500 metre thick gas bearing zone. In 1975 Berenx-2 was re-entered, drill stem tested and flowed gas to surface from the same carbonate reservoir that delivered 9 tcf and 2 tcf from nearby fields at Lacq and Meillon.
- Europa’s in-house technical work indicates that the Berenx Deep appraisal prospect could hold in excess of 500 bcf of recoverable gas resources. In the CPR dated 31 May 2012, ERC Equipoise estimated gross mean un-risked resources of 277 bcf for the Berenx deep gas play. The difference between Europa’s and ERC's assessment of resources reflects the confidence of each party in mapping in a geologically complex terrain. Europa was able to map a larger area of closure and as a consequence larger resources.
- Previous exploration on the concession had focused on the deep gas prospectivity. However, Europa’s technical team has undertaken a re-evaluation and interpretation of existing seismic and well data on the permit which resulted in the definition of a shallow gas prospect, Berenx Shallow. The recent discovery of previously missing seismic data by the French authorities, together with a substantial seismic reprocessing project has delivered a re-interpretation of structure and a better understanding of proven hydrocarbon bearing reservoir distribution in the shallow Cretaceous and Late Jurassic carbonate sediments. Europa estimates Berenx Shallow has potential gross mean un-risked resources of 107 bcf of gas.
- The Company’s strategy for Bearn des Gaves is to first target the shallow gas play, drill a well with the aim of delivering a commercial flow rate and, on the back of commercial success, to further appraise the shallow prospectivity and undertake work to de-risk the Berenx Deep appraisal prospect. The shallow prospect can be tested with a comparatively simple exploration well with an anticipated total depth of 2,500 metres.
- On 3 October 2013, the permit was successfully renewed for a period of five years from 22 March 2012 and carries an expenditure commitment of approximately EUR2.5 million. The farm-out process for Bearn des Gaves is on-going in parallel with planning and permitting for a Berenx shallow well to evaluate the 107 bcf gross mean un-risked contingent resources. A lease has been obtained for the drill site and drilling permit documentation is currently being exchanged with the French authorities. Scoping economics suggests a value of US$11.5 boe and NPV10 of US$170 million therefore the Directors believe that exploration success at Berenx Shallow would be company-making for Europa.
Tarbes Val d'Adour (20%)
In February 2015, Europa announced the signing of a Farm-Out Agreement (FOA) in relation to the Tarbes permit with Vermilion REP SAS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Vermilion Energy Inc (Vermilion) a Calgary, Alberta based international oil and gas producer. Tarbes has previously produced oil from two fields and is located in the Aquitaine basin close to the giant Lacq - Meillon gas fields.
- Under the terms of the FOA, Vermilion acquires an 80% interest in, and operatorship of, Tarbes with Europa holding the remaining 20% interest.
- Should Vermilion decide to proceed with exploration activities, they will assume 100% of the cost of an optional work programme, which may include seismic acquisition/reprocessing and drilling operations up to a total of EUR4.65 million. Once costs above this level are incurred, Europa will be responsible for its 20% share of future work programme costs
- Tarbes contains several oil accumulations that were previously licensed by Elf but were abandoned in 1985 due to a combination of technical issues and low oil prices. Two fields, Jacque and Osmets, were drilled using vertical wells and generated modest production.
- The FOA is subject to the relevant approvals being granted by the French authorities - for the transfer of equity and operatorship to Vermilion and obtaining an extension for the permit. Both these approvals processes have started.