OREANDA-NEWS. Hibiscus Petroleum Berhad, a Malaysian oil and gas exploration and production company, announced that its jointly-controlled entity, Lime Petroleum Plc, through its subsidiary Masirah Oil Ltd in Oman, has awarded a drilling rig contract to Aban 7 Pte Ltd for the execution of its drilling programme in the company's Block 50 Oman concession.

 Aban 7 is an international drilling contractor that owns and operates a fleet of 18 drilling rigs. In a press release issued on Monday, Hibiscus said that the contract will be effective for a minimum period of 50 working days which is anticipated to commence between mid-October and mid-November this year. Under the contract, Masirah Oil will procure the services of the Aban VII drilling rig, an independent leg cantilever jack-up rig to spud and drill a minimum of two exploration wells.

 After an international tender exercise and careful evaluation of available rigs in the region, the Aban VII was chosen for several reasons including certainty of the rig's delivery schedule, strong past operating performance, crew competence and good health, safety and environment record alongside good regional support, the press release said.

 Commenting on the award, Dr Kenneth Pereira, managing director of Hibiscus Petroleum, said, “After months of meticulous planning and effort, we are excited to get our drilling program underway. From our days as Malaysia's first SPAC and being the country's first and only listed independent exploration and production company, the awarding of this contract represents a significant milestone for us. Through the use of Rex Virtual Drilling, we believe we stand a good chance of success and hope to reward our shareholders.”

 The prospect of Masirah North North 1 and Masirah North East 1 have been selected for drilling after in-depth technical evaluation and verification, in addition to the confirmations provided via conventional methodologies. These prospects are internally estimated to have prospective resources of about 160mn barrels.

 Hibiscus said that if the wells yield successful discoveries, production can potentially be expected to begin by the first half of 2014 through utilisation of an early production system. Hibiscus acquired a 35 per cent stake in Lime Petroleum for USD 55mn as its qualifying acquisition in April 2012. Lime Petroleum has a 64 per cent participating interest in the Block 50 concession, whilst Petroci Holding, the national oil company of Ivory Coast, has a 36 per cent interest.