Ascent Resources (LON:AST), the AIM-quoted oil and gas company, has received all the necessary consents it needs to complete a deal with FTSE 250 oil group EnQuest (LON:ENQ) involving the Petišovci Project in Slovenia. Last December the two sides agreed a move that will see Ascent buy Enquest’s 48.75% interest in the gas project in return for a 22.5% of the company’s equity. In response, the Ascent Resources share price fell by 2.8% to 8.6p while the EnQuest share price edged higher to 144.9p.

EnQuest floated in London last April following a spin-out and subsequent merger of the UK North Sea exploration and production assets of Petrofac (LON:PFC) and Sweden’s Lundin Petroleum. The company went on to acquire Stratic Energy last November, an E&P group mainly focused on the North Sea, but that deal brought with it small stakes in projects in Slovenia and Morocco. Announcing the deal with Ascent in December, EnQuest’s head of business development, Graham Cooper, said that while the Stratic takeover was largely aimed at bolstering North Sea production, the Slovenian project had “further potential in its own right”.

As operator of the Petišovci Project, Ascent will gain the technical expertise of EnQuest on a project that is expected to be the main focus of development work for the company this year. Indeed, Ascent believes Petišovci could eventually be one of its most important assets. As part of the deal, Graham Cooper, previously a vice president of global exploration for Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSA) , has joined the Ascent board. He will also help the company evaluate future European business development opportunities.

In today’s update, Ascent said that its Pg-11 evaluation well at Petišovci Project was drilling ahead in an 8-1/2" hole and the current depth was 2,799m within the Miocene reservoir sequence. The well is proceeding according to plan with some delays totalling over one week, caused by difficulties with some of the drilling equipment. Whilst drilling, strong gas shows have been observed from each of the four reservoir intervals so far encountered. Two 18m cores have been successfully cut and recovered from two of those intervals, one from the historically non-productive and shallowest 'A' sands and the second from the 'D'…

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