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    TransAtlantic Petroleum partners with Shell on Turkey exploration

    Transatlantic Petroleum, an international energy company engaged in the acquisition, development, exploration and production of oil and natural gas in Turkey, Bulgaria, and Romania, has finalized its partnership with Shell for a joint seismic program in the Sivas Basin of central Turkey.

    N. Malone Mitchell, 3rd, TransAtlantic's chairman and CEO, stated, "We are pleased to have Shell join TransAtlantic in exploring the complex geology of the Sivas Basin. This region is underexplored but has the potential to hold meaningful accumulations of hydrocarbons. We welcome the knowledge, technical capabilities and commitment that Shell brings to the project and look forward to working with Shell's team in reviewing the seismic and aeromag data, collection of which has already begun."

    With modern 3D seismic, re-entry into shallow wells, fracture stimulation possibilities and the potential for horizontal drilling all provide upside potential to the company's assets in Turkey, Mitchell previously told OGFJ. Read the entire interview here.

    Sivas deal
    The Sivas Basin, noted Global Hunter Securities (GHS) analysts in a note to investors March 21, is a highly complex geologic setting with minimal exploration to date. For this reason, bringing in a partner with experience in a wide variety of settings like Shell is a definite plus.

    Under terms of the agreement signed with Shell Upstream Turkey BV, Shell will co-fund a 2012 TransAtlantic program to collect 1,000 kilometers of 2D seismic data and approximately 8,000 kilometers of airborne gravity gradiometry and magnetic data in Turkey's Sivas Basin, where TransAtlantic holds exploration licenses covering approximately 1.6 million acres.

    The agreement provides an option for Shell to farm in on the leases after it assesses the data collected. If Shell accepts the option, GHS analysts expect it would be for over 50% of the position that, following recent government approval of an extension on the licenses, calls for two wells by the end of 2013.

    While terms of the deal were not disclosed, GHS analysts note that Transatlantic is budgeting $15 million for seismic this year, or 12% of the full 2012 budget. Because the budget includes the Sivas shoot and reflects the Shell contribution, the partnership announcement has no affect on 2012 guidance, they concluded.

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