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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs        5  February 2011

Australian firm increases energy stake

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Otto Energy Ltd. has increased its stake in two petroleum exploration areas in the Philippines.

In a regulatory filing, the Australian firm said it entered into an agreement with Trans-Asia Oil and Energy Development Corp. for the purchase of additional shares in the joint venture's service contracts (SC) 55 and 69.

"In both transactions, if [Otto Energy] does not elect to drill the required well, the assigned equity will be reassigned to [Trans-Asia]," the Australian company said. Otto Energy will increase its equity in SC 55 by 8.18 percent to 93.18 percent. In return, the company will shoulder Trans-Asia's share in the drilling of two exploration wells in the petroleum block.

Otto Energy will also increase its equity in SC 69 by 9 percent to 79 percent in exchange for the payment of Trans-Asia's previous costs and equity share in the drilling of an exploration well.

Paul Moore, Otto Energy managing director, said that the increase in equity in the oil and gas blocks is part of the company's "continued strategy of focusing on these high potential permits." SC 55 covers a 9,000-square kilometer area located within a regional oil and gas fairway that extends from the productive Borneo offshore region in the southwest to the offshore Philippine production assets northwest of Palawan.

SC 69, on the other hand, covers an area of 7,040 square kilometers in offshore Central Visayas, surrounded by the islands of Cebu, Bohol and Leyte.

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