The company will begin drilling up to five wells in the fourth quarter on its Isarene permit in Algeria, it said in a statement released on 8 January.

The drilling will follow a 3D seismic survey over about 850 square kilometres, which is being carried out by Houston-based Global Geophysical. The six-month survey will focus on the North Ain Tsila Ridge.

Following the survey’s completion in mid-2008, a further 3D seismic survey will be carried out on the areas around two discoveries: Isas and Hassi Tab Tab. Drilling will follow in 2009.

The company has also extended its production sharing contract on the Ksar Hadada licence area in Tunisia to April 2011, entering a second phase of exploration activity.

Subject to rig availability, three wells are planned for the area during the second and third quarters of 2008.