<a href=Apache” height=”375″ src=”https://www.offshore-technology.com/wp-content/uploads/static-progressive/Apache_UK_Forties-Echo_6702.jpg” style=”padding: 10px” title=”US-based oil and gas company Apache” width=”250″ />

US-based oil and gas company Apache has received 11 new petroleum exploration licenses from the UK’s Department of Energy and Climate Change, in the North Sea.

The North Sea licenses cover 19 full or partial blocks (613,316 gross acres) and the company has agreed to drill six wells and to acquire a new 3-D seismic survey.

The company also signed a production sharing agreement with Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname, a national oil company of the Republic of Suriname, for Block 53, located in offshore Suriname.

The 867,117-acre block is situated in 500 to 1,800m of water and is about 130km offshore.

Apache president and COO, Rodney J. Eichler, said: "Adding acreage to bolster Apache’s drilling inventory in the North Sea and securing a high-potential exploration area offshore of Suriname illustrate Apache’s commitment to adding production and reserves through the drillbit."

Apache North Sea Region vice president and managing director, James L. House, said: "This was a very successful outcome that will provide avenues for continued growth near our major producing assets as well as high-potential exploration targets in the Central Graben area of the North Sea.

"We obtained all of the available acreage around our Beryl field plus a key license near the Forties field."

The company has planned to acquire its third 4-D seismic survey over the Forties area in 2013 and also to complete the remaining 560 square kilometres of a new 1,500 square kilometre 3-D survey in the Beryl area in 2013.

In Block 53, the company’s work programme includes a 3-D seismic programme expected to begin in 2013, and two exploration wells.

Apache has a 100% participating interest in the block. However, Staatsolie has an option to obtain a 20% participating interest in commercial fields discovered in the block.

Image: Apache has acquired exploration licenses in the North Sea and offshore Suriname. Photo courtesy of Apache.