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Press release from Marketwire

WesternZagros Announces Fourth Quarter 2012 and Year End Results

Friday, March 22, 2013

WesternZagros Announces Fourth Quarter 2012 and Year End Results07:30 EDT Friday, March 22, 2013CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - March 22, 2013) -NOT FOR DISTRIBUTION TO U.S. NEWSWIRE SERVICES OR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATESWesternZagros Resources Ltd. (TSX VENTURE:WZR) ("WesternZagros" or "the Company") announced today its operating and financial results for the year end ended December 31, 2012, and additional key highlights and activities to date. A summary of the activities, the financial statements, the accompanying Management Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") and Annual Information Form ("AIF") are available at www.westernzagros.com and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. With tremendous exploration success and solid operational execution in 2012, WesternZagros moved well ahead on its mission to be recognized as one of the leading junior oil and gas companies active in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.Commenting on the year end results, WesternZagros's Chief Executive Officer Simon Hatfield said, "WesternZagros had a breakthrough year in 2012, highlighted by the giant oil discovery at Kurdamir-2. We anticipate building on this success through our fully funded, aggressive exploration and appraisal program of 2013. Our objectives for 2013 include drilling and testing Kurdamir-3 and further exploration and appraisal on the Garmian Block with the Hasira-1 well, Baram-1 well and the Mil Qasim Upper Bakhtiari shallow well program."HighlightsHealth Safety and Environment ("HSE")As at March 20, 2013 WesternZagros achieved a total of over 3.0 million man hours of work performed safely and 877 days without any Lost Time Incidents. Resource EstimatesThe total combined mean estimate of gross unrisked contingent resources at Kurdamir increased to 545 million barrels of oil in the Oligocene and Eocene reservoirs (audited by independent reserve evaluator, Sproule International Limited). On the Kurdamir and Garmian Blocks, the total combined mean estimate of gross unrisked contingent resources is now 974 million barrels of oil equivalent and the total mean estimate of gross unrisked prospective resources is now 4.7 billion barrels of oil equivalent. Operations - Kurdamir BlockDuring the fourth quarter 2012, three intervals were tested within the 168 metres gross hydrocarbon column (22 metres of gas and 146 metres of oil) encountered in the Oligocene reservoir. No formation water was encountered during this testing. The table below summarizes the flow rates from the three intervals tested: Oligocene Reservoir TestsTested Interval (metres)Stabilized Oil Rate (bbl/d)Gas Rate (MMcf/d)Oil APIApparent Gas-Oil Ratio (scf/bbl)DST 12,422-2,4779507.338-42°7,684DST 72,528-2,5522,18410.442°4,762DST 62,570-2,5903,4508.838°2,550The apparent gas-oil ratios for these tests were higher than expected due to the following: 1) DST 1 was conducted across the gas-oil contact and, consequently, the test was dominated by gas flowing from the gas cap and 2) DST 6 and 7 were interpreted to be pulling gas down fractures or other high permeability zones within the reservoir that are connected to the gas cap or through channels in the cement behind casing.Based on reservoir data obtained from the Kurdamir testing program and independent engineering assessments, the Company predicts that sustainable production rates of 7,000 to 11,000 barrels of oil per day are possible for individual wells in the Oligocene reservoir utilizing horizontal drilling and completions technology. These sustainable production rates would follow higher initial flow rates. Horizontal wells will also minimize gas production from the oil leg where it underlies the gas cap. Oil discovery confirmed in Eocene reservoir at Kurdamir-2. A single cased-hole test was performed over a net perforated interval of 108 metres and resulted in the flow of light, 45 degree API oil at sub-commercial flow rates. No formation water encountered. Oil discovery confirmed in Cretaceous reservoir at Kurdamir-2. Three cased-hole tests were conducted over a 221 metres gross interval and resulted in the flow of light, 39 to 40 degree API oil at sub-commercial rates. Spudded Kurdamir-3, an Oligocene appraisal well on February 22 on the giant oil discovery of the Kurdamir structure. Kurdamir-3 is targeting 150-250 million barrels of prospective oil resources. Currently drilling at depth of 1,926 metres with a planned total depth of 2800 metres. Awarded contract for two 2,000 horse-power drilling rigs with a leading North American drilling contractor to drill the Hasira-1 and Baram-1 wells. Award was for a two year term with an option to extend for an additional two years and a provision for a third 2,000 horse-power rig if required. Commenced 3D seismic survey in January, 2013 encompassing the Kurdamir structure and extending onto the neighbouring Topkhana Block; completion of the data acquisition phase anticipated early in the third quarter of 2013. Operations - Garmian BlockCommenced 3D seismic survey on November 1, 2012 over the Sarqala and Mil Qasim oil discoveries and the Zardi Complex prospect and 2D seismic survey over the Chwar prospect. 2D seismic acquisition is completed and the 3D seismic survey is over 75 percent completed. On the Baram prospect, the data from the Kurdamir-2 well resulted in the total mean estimate of gross unrisked prospective resources to increase by over 300 percent to 423 million barrels of oil. The Company now interprets that the Baram prospect has the potential to contain the extension of the Kurdamir Oligocene oil leg into the Garmian Block. The Baram-1 exploration well has the possibility of being the highest impact well in 2013 with the potential to add gross mean contingent oil equivalent resources of 200-300 million barrels in the Garmian Block and 500-600 million barrels in the Kurdamir Block. FinancingNon-brokered private placement completed with Crest Energy International LLC ("Crest"), of Houston, USA, at Cdn $1.25 per share for gross proceeds of $63.75 million for a placement of 51 million common shares in the Company at a 25 percent premium to the March 8, 2013, closing price. Upon closing Crest holds approximately 19.8 percent of the issued and outstanding common shares. Crest obtained the right under the Investment Agreement to appoint an additional nominee to the Company's Board of Directors and has elected John Howland to that position. Eric Stoerr, an officer of Crest, has been a member of the Corporation's Board of Directors since August 2012. Also entered into a loan agreement with Crest for US$57.5 million that incurs interest at 6 percent per annum to be repaid within 18 months in which the funding of the loan occurs. Subsequent to the Crest private placement, the Company announced the finalized terms of a further private placement of common shares issued at C$1.25 per share for gross proceeds of US$13.9 million which is anticipated to close on April 4, 2013. Proceeds from the second private placement will be used to reduce the principal amount outstanding under the Crest loan. 2012 financial results consistent with an early-stage exploration company, with a net loss of $10.3 million, a solid financial position and a track record of conservative financial management. Fully funded for planned activities in 2013, with $79.6 million working capital in place at the end of 2012 and the funds received from the subsequent financing. Capital expenditures estimate for the fourth quarter of 2012, including the requirement for the Company to fund 50 percent of Garmian activities and 60 percent of Kurdamir activities were $31.2 million. CorporateActively pursuing a dual listing of the Company's share capital on the L.S.E. in London, U.K. in order to provide an additional market for future equity financing and trading of shares for existing shareholders. On February 1, 2013 Mr. William Jack was appointed to the position of General Manager Kurdistan with responsibility for government liaison and in-country administration following the retirement of Mr. Ian McIntosh. Continued strong emphasis on Corporate Social Responsibility including Community Investment. Employed 203 full and part time local national employees and service contractors to support Company's operations in the corporate offices in Kurdistan and at its camp and EWT production facilities on the Garmian Block. Employed a further 190 local national employees for the ongoing seismic survey program on the Garmian Block. Outlook In accordance with the Kurdamir and Garmian PSCs, the end of the exploration periods are September 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014, respectively, after which the development periods begin. On the Kurdamir Block, the Company's focus will be on continued appraisal drilling to delineate the existing 943 million barrels of oil equivalent ("MMBOE") of Gross Mean Contingent Resources and the estimated 1.6 billion barrels of oil equivalent of Gross Mean Prospective Resources. On the Garmian Block, the Company's focus will be on exploration drilling to delineate the following estimated Gross Mean Prospective Resources: 527 MMBOE on the Baram prospect, 463 MMBOE on the Sarqala Discovery and 143 MMBOE on the Mil Qasim Upper Bakhtiari Discovery. In addition, WesternZagros's work program on the Garmian Block over the next two years will be on exploration activities to rank, prioritize and drill the highest ranked additional prospects prior to the end of the exploration period. This ranking will be based on the results of the North and South Garmian Seismic Programs (2D and 3D) and the 2013 drilling results of the Company's planned wells on the Garmian and Kurdamir Blocks and also other Operator's wells on neighbouring blocks. Possible prospects for future exploration drilling in 2014 include Qulijan, Chwar, Bawanoor, Alyan, Zardi Complex, Tilako and the Upper Fars Fault Trap play. Kurdamir Block The Company continues to work with the operator, Talisman, to appraise the giant oil discovery in the Oligocene reservoir of the Kurdamir discovery. This includes a 3D seismic program over the Kurdamir structure with acquisition that commenced in January 2013, drilling and testing the Kurdamir-3 well that was spudded on February 22, 2013, targeting an estimated 150-250 MMBOE of Gross Mean Prospective Resources, and an extended well test in the Kurdamir-2 well which is anticipated to start in the second half of 2013, subject to the approval of the KRG. Appraisal activities for the deeper Eocene and Cretaceous reservoirs will be deferred until additional insight is obtained on optimal drilling locations. The Company anticipates that the results of the 3D seismic survey currently underway over Kurdamir will assist in this process.Planned expenditures include approximately $30 million for the Kurdamir-3 vertical appraisal well (spudded February 22, 2013), $9 million for the Kurdamir seismic program which commenced in the first quarter of 2013, and $2 million for the Kurdamir-2 completion costs. Contingent projects may also include $9 million for a potential Kurdamir-3 sidetrack, if required, and, subject to KRG approval, $7 million related to commencement of extended well test production at the Kurdamir-2 well. Garmian Block WesternZagros expects to recommence the EWT at Sarqala upon KRG approval to gain additional information in order to appraise the discovery for future development. Upon receipt of KRG approval, the Company plans to complete a workover of the Sarqala-1 well in the second half of 2013 in order to allow future EWT production capability to increase beyond the current 5,000 barrels per day. Engineering work is also underway for permanent facilities to increase EWT production capability at Sarqala including gas conservation measures. In particular, preliminary engineering design of the Sarqala first phase permanent facilities with 20,000 bbl/d capacity has been completed in readiness to request engineering procurement and construction tenders at the appropriate time. Work is continuing on opportunities to utilize the associated natural gas from any future crude oil production to minimize the flaring of natural gas. Hasira-1 Exploration and Appraisal Well The Hasira-1 well is planned to spud in the second quarter of 2013 to appraise the extent of the oil leg previously encountered in the Jeribe reservoir, targeting 25-50 MMBOE of Gross Mean Prospective Resources, at the Sarqala-1 well and also to explore the deeper Oligocene reservoir, targeting a further 25-50 MMBOE of Gross Mean Prospective Resources. Significant oil shows were encountered in the Oligocene interval at Sarqala-1 but the Company was unable to evaluate them at that time due to wellbore conditions. Hasira-1 is expected to take approximately seven months to drill to a planned total depth of 4,100 metres. The drilling rig is currently being prepared in North America for deployment to the Kurdistan Region. Baram-1 Exploration Well The Baram-1 well is planned to spud in the third quarter of 2013, in order to explore a potential extension of the oil leg in the Oligocene reservoir of the Kurdamir discovery into the Garmian Block. If successful and the extension is confirmed, this well could add 200-300 MMBOE of Gross Mean Contingent Resources in the Garmian Block and possibly also confirm an additional 500-600 MMBOE of Gross Mean Contingent Resources on the Kurdamir Block. WesternZagros expects the well to take approximately five months to reach the planned total depth of 3,800 metres. An additional drilling rig is also currently being prepared in North America for deployment to the Kurdistan Region. The completion of either Baram-1 or Hasira-1 in 2013 would fulfill the Company's obligations under the second exploration sub-period of the Garmian PSC, prior to any extension of such sub-period. Upper Bakhtiari Three-Well Drilling Program This program is to explore the potential of the shallow (500 to 700 metres depth) Upper Bakhtiari formation in the southern part of the Garmian Block through a low cost, three well drilling program, targeting 29 MMBOE of Gross Mean Prospective Resources. If successful, the wells could be quickly tied into the existing Sarqala facilities for EWT production, subject to KRG approval. The Company plans to spud the first well in the second quarter of 2013 subject to the availability of a drilling rig in Kurdistan. Garmian Seismic Programs WesternZagros has commenced a 3D seismic appraisal survey over the Sarqala, Mil Qasim and adjacent Zardi Complex structures. WesternZagros has completed the 2D seismic survey at Chwar which is located 22 kilometres west-northwest of Sarqala to elevate this low risk, Jeribe oil opportunity to drill ready status. The Chwar prospect will be ranked against the other prospects on the Garmian Block. The Company will utilize the 3D information to optimize the number and placement of future appraisal and development well, improve its understanding of fracturing within these structures and further evaluate the Bakhtiari, Upper Fars, Jeribe, Oligocene, Eocene and Cretaceous reservoirs on the southern portion of the Block. The Company also plans to conduct a 3D seismic program in the second half of 2013over the northern portion of the Block targeting the Baram and Qulijan structures. The 3D data over Baram will assist in determining whether Baram is an extension of the existing Kurdamir Oligocene discovery or a separate structure. Planned expenditures include $30 million for the Hasira-1 well (expected to be spudded in the second quarter of 2013), $28 million for the Baram-1 well (expected to be spudded in the third quarter), $4 million for the Sarqala EWT facilities, $2 million for the first of three wells of the Mil Qasim Upper Bakhtiari program, $7 million for the Garmian South seismic programs and $11 million for G&A and other costs. Contingent projects may also include $4 million for anticipated Sarqala-1 work over and recompletion costs, subject to KRG approval, $8 million for the Garmian North seismic program and $4 million for up to two additional wells at the Mil Qasim Upper Bakhtiari program, subject to successful results. This news release contains certain forward‐looking information relating, but not limited, to the closing of the private placement, funding of the loan and anticipated timing thereof. Forward-looking information typically contains statements with words such as "anticipate", "plan", "estimate", "expect", "potential", "could", or similar words suggesting future outcomes. The Company cautions readers not to place undue reliance on forward‐looking information as by its nature, it is based on current expectations regarding future events that involve a number of assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros. In addition, the forward‐looking information is made as of the date hereof, and the Company assumes no obligation to update or revise such to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required by law.Forward‐looking information is not based on historical facts but rather on management's current expectations and assumptions regarding, among other things, timely receipt of all necessary stock exchange approvals, plans for and results of drilling activity and testing programs, future capital and other expenditures (including the amount, nature and sources of funding thereof), continued political stability, and timely receipt of any necessary government or regulatory approvals. Although the Company believes the expectations and assumptions reflected in such forward‐looking information are reasonable, they may prove to be incorrect. Forward‐looking information involves significant known and unknown risks and uncertainties. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by WesternZagros including, but not limited to, risks associated with the oil and gas industry (e.g. operational risks in exploration; inherent uncertainties in interpreting geological data; changes in plans with respect to exploration or capital expenditures; interruptions in operations together with any associated insurance proceedings; the uncertainty of estimates and projections in relation to costs and expenses and health, safety and environmental risks), the risk of commodity price and foreign exchange rate fluctuations, the uncertainty associated with negotiating with foreign governments and risk associated with international activity. For further information on WesternZagros and the risks associated with its business, please see the Company's Annual Information Form dated March 22, 2013, which is available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.In addition, statements relating to "resources" contained herein are deemed to be forward-looking statements, as they involve the implied assessment, based on certain estimates and assumptions that the resources described can be economically produced in the future. Terms related to resource classifications referred to herein are based on the definitions and guidelines in the Canadian Oil and Gas Evaluation Handbook which are as follows. "Prospective resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from undiscovered accumulations by application of future development projects. Prospective resources have both an associated chance of discovery (geological chance of success) and a chance of development (economic, regulatory, market, facility, corporate commitment or political risks). The chance of commerciality is the product of these two risk components. The estimates referred to herein have not been risked for either the chance of discovery or the chance of development. There is no certainty that any portion of the prospective resources will be discovered. If a discovery is made, there is no certainty that it will be developed or, if it is developed, there is no certainty as to the timing of such development or that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the prospective resources. "Contingent resources" are those quantities of petroleum estimated, as of a given date, to be potentially recoverable from known accumulations using established technology or technology under development, but which are not currently considered to be commercially recoverable due to one or more contingencies. Contingent resources have an associated chance of development (economic, regulatory, market and facility, corporate commitment or political risks). The estimates referred to herein have not been risked for the chance of development. There is no certainty that the contingent resources will be developed and, if developed, there is no certainty as to the timing of such development or that it will be commercially viable to produce any portion of the contingent resources. All resource estimates presented are gross volumes for the indicated reservoirs, without any adjustment for the Company's working interest or encumbrances. A barrel of oil equivalent (BOE) is determined by converting a volume of natural gas to barrels using the ratio of 6 million cubic feet (Mcf) to one barrel. BOEs may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A BOE conversion ratio of 6 Mcf:1 BOE is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. Given that the value ratio based on the current price of oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value. The Company's Statement of Oil and Gas Information contained in its Annual Information Form dated March 22, 2013 ("AIF") filed on SEDAR at www.sedar.com contains additional detail with respect to the resource assessments and includes the significant risks and uncertainties associated with the estimates and the recovery and development of the resources, and, in respect of contingent resources, the specific contingencies which prevent the classification of the resources as reserves. In addition, combined mean estimates of resources which are presented in this MD&A are an arithmetic sum of the mean estimates for individual reservoirs and each such individual mean estimate is the average from the probabilistic assessment that was completed for the reservoir. Readers should refer to the AIF for a detailed breakdown of the high (P10), low (P90) and best (P50) estimates for each of the individual reservoir assessments.WESTERNZAGROS RESOURCES WAS RECOGNIZED AS A TSX VENTURE 50® COMPANY IN 2012 AND 2013. TSX VENTURE 50 IS A TRADE-MARK OF TSX INC. AND IS USED UNDER LICENSE.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: NEITHER THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATION SERVICES PROVIDER (AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED IN POLICIES OF THE TSX VENTURE EXCHANGE) ACCEPTS RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE Contact Information: WesternZagros Resources Ltd.Greg StevensonChief Financial Officer(403) 693-7007WesternZagros Resources Ltd.Tony KraljicVP Business Development(403) 693-7011WesternZagros Resources Ltd.Lisa HarrimanManager of Investor Relations(403) 693-7017investorrelations@westernzagros.comwww.westernzagros.comSmithfield GroupJohn Kiely+44 (0) 20 7360 4900jkiely@smithfieldgroup.comSmithfield GroupBrett Jacobs+44 (0) 20 7360 4900bjacobs@smithfieldgroup.comSmithfield GroupJames McFarlane+44 (0) 20 7360 4900jmcfarlane@smithfieldgroup.com