Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd.
TSX : PBG
November 27, 2008 21:03 ET
Petrobank's Whitesands Expansion Approval Advances
CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 27, 2008) - Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. ("Petrobank" or the "Company") (TSX:PBG) announces that it has today received copies of two letters (the "Correspondence") from the Energy and Resources Conservation Board ("ERCB") to objecting parties that indicate that the ERCB has decided that the three well expansion at Petrobank's Whitesands site (the "Expansion") has met all regulatory requirements and the ERCB will issue their approval document in due course ("Decision").
The objective of the Expansion is to further demonstrate Petrobank's THAI™ technology, an evolutionary in-situ combustion technology for the recovery of bitumen and heavy oil. The Expansion will allow Petrobank to draw upon the knowledge and know-how gained through the development of our existing Whitesands project. We are also excited about this opportunity to further utilize our proprietary CAPRI™ technology, our revised down-hole completion design and longer well lengths.
It is one of Petrobank's core values to communicate openly and with respect for individuals, communities and cultures. We began our consultation with applicable regulatory agencies and other stakeholders on the Expansion application ("Application") in mid 2007 and ultimately filed the Application in December 2007. During 2008, Petrobank responded to routine supplementary information requests from the ERCB and Alberta Environment. During this same period a comprehensive consultation program was ongoing with all potential stakeholders. Two groups intervened into the Application process with broad letters of objection which delayed the regulatory Decision. In the Correspondence, the Board determined that the rights of the two groups were not "directly and adversely affected", that they did not have standing, and dismissed their objections.
The delay in receiving the Decision was not related to the technical merits of the Application. Petrobank views this Decision as validation of our values and strategy to consult, rather than compromise the process by making extraordinary financial payments to intervening parties to facilitate the withdrawal of objections and thereby shortening the regulatory process. Petrobank communicates widely on our development plans and works with stakeholders that may potentially be affected by our activities in a clear and transparent manner, in accordance with the Government of Alberta's First Nation Consultation Policy on Land, Management and Resource Development, issued in May 2005. Petrobank will continue to maintain frequent contact and work with the relevant regulatory authorities to secure all necessary permits and to meet any requirements forthcoming in the formal approval document. Following receipt of the ERCB approval document, Petrobank plans to proceed immediately with the drilling of the Expansion wells. The Correspondence can be viewed on Petrobank's website at http://www.petrobank.com/hea-whitesandsproject.html. To provide further clarity for shareholders, within the next week, Petrobank will also post to this link all relevant correspondence and documents relating to the Application process.
While we are excited to use the Expansion at the Whitesands site to further demonstrate our THAI™ technology, we are concerned with the length of time this regulatory process has taken. However, we are satisfied with the Decision reached by the ERCB as it paves the way for our Expansion project and future projects to prudently develop Alberta's oil sands using environmentally sustainable and cost effective technologies.
Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd.
Petrobank Energy and Resources Ltd. is a Calgary-based oil and natural gas exploration and production company with operations in western Canada and Colombia. The Company operates high-impact projects through three business units and a technology subsidiary. The Canadian Business Unit is focused on developing a solid production platform from the Bakken light oil play in southeast Saskatchewan, and exploiting a large undeveloped land base through the application of new technology to large oil and gas resource opportunities. The Latin American Business Unit, operated by Petrobank's 76.4% owned TSX-listed subsidiary, Petrominerales Ltd. (TSX:PMG), is a Latin American-based exploration and production company producing oil from three blocks in Colombia and has contracts on 14 exploration blocks covering a total of 1.6 million acres in the Llanos and Putumayo Basins. Whitesands Insitu Partnership, a partnership between Petrobank and its wholly-owned subsidiary Whitesands Insitu Inc., owns 75 net sections of oil sands leases in Alberta, 36 sections of oil sands licenses in Saskatchewan and operates the Whitesands project which is field-demonstrating Petrobank's patented THAI™ heavy oil recovery process. THAI™ is an evolutionary in-situ combustion technology for the recovery of bitumen and heavy oil that integrates existing proven technologies and provides the opportunity to create a step change in the development of heavy oil resources globally. THAI™ and CAPRI™ are registered trademarks of Archon Technologies Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Petrobank.
Certain information provided in this press release constitutes forward-looking statements. The words "anticipate", "expect", "project", "estimate", "forecast" and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect. Actual results achieved during the forecast period will vary from the information provided herein as a result of numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors. You can find a discussion of those risks and uncertainties in our Canadian securities filings. Such factors include, but are not limited to: applicable regulations, required regulatory approvals, general economic, market and business conditions; fluctuations in oil prices; the results of exploration and development drilling, recompletions and related activities; timing and rig availability, outcome of exploration contract negotiations; fluctuation in foreign currency exchange rates; the uncertainty of reserve estimates; changes in environmental and other regulations; risks associated with oil and gas operations; and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. There is no representation by Petrobank that actual results achieved during the forecast period will be the same in whole or in part as those forecast. Except as may be required by applicable securities laws, Petrobank assumes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements made herein or otherwise, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.