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03 Jun 2020 | 12:36

Empyrean Energy gets extension to first phase at China block

(Sharecast News) - Oil and gas exploration and development company Empyrean Energy updated the market on block 29/11, offshore China on Wednesday, confirming a 12 month extension to the first phase of exploration. The AIM-traded firm said that, due to the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic and the resulting global control policies, it had engaged with the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) and applied for a 12-month extension to the first phase of the exploration period on the block.

It said that CNOOC had granted the 12 month extension, and as a result, the first phase had been extended to 12 June 2022.

CNOOC had told the company that the existing current contract would be amended in due course.

The exploration commitment for the first phase was to drill an exploration well.

Empyrean said it was taking "all necessary steps" for safely drilling the first well on block 29/11 as soon as practicable.

"This 12 month extension is a further example of the excellent cooperation and understanding between CNOOC and Empyrean," said chief executive officer Tom Kelly.

"The extension provides enormous de-risking and flexibility with respect to the planning and drilling of the first phase exploration well in Block 29/11 without having to invoke force majeure. Covid-19 has made many operations unsafe and uncertain, especially travel, and this extension provides the flexibility for a much safer approach to our operations."

Kelly said it was Empyrean's intention to drill the first exploration well as soon as possible, adding that it was taking proactive steps towards a safe drilling operation in China.

"Put simply, if we can safely drill this first well ahead of the new extension, we will."

At 1218 BST, shares in Empyrean Energy were down 2.04% at 4.8p.
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