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Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd. Sanctions Little Bow ASP Tertiary Recovery Project Construction, Provides an Operational Update, Provides 2013 Guidance and Releases 2012 Year End Reserves


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© Marketwire 2013
2013-02-21 01:06:42 -

CALGARY, ALBERTA -- (Marketwire) -- 02/21/13 -- Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd. (the "Company" or "Zargon") (TSX:ZAR) (TSX:ZAR.DB) is pleased to announce the sanctioning of the construction of the Little Bow Alkaline Surfactant Polymer ("ASP") tertiary recovery facility, provide an operational update, provide 2013 guidance and report its 2012 year end reserves. Zargon intends to release its 2012 audited financial results on March 12, 2013, after market close.


LITTLE BOW ASP PROJECT SANCTIONING:


--  Zargon is sanctioning the construction of its tertiary recovery ASP oil
    exploitation project at the Little Bow oil property in Southern Alberta.
    This ASP project entails the injection of large volumes of a dilute
    chemical solution into a partially depleted oil reservoir to recover
    incremental oil reserves. With sanctioning, phases 1 and 2 of the Little
    Bow ASP project will be Canada's ninth operational ASP project. For a
    full description of the Little Bow ASP project, please refer to the
    company's website at www.zargon.ca.  
    
--  After three years of preparation, Zargon is now ready to proceed with
    the construction phase of the Little Bow project. In particular, the
    Energy Resources Conservation Board ("ERCB") regulatory scheme approval
    has been obtained, detailed engineering design has been completed, long
    lead time and large equipment orders have been placed and Class 3
    construction cost estimates have been prepared. The project entails the
    construction of a water softening plant, chemical handling/mixing
    facilities and water injection facilities. In addition, there will be
    oil battery upgrades, pipeline replacements/upgrades, water injector
    conversions and well reactivations. 
    
--  Including the $6.5 million of ASP costs spent in 2012, the total capital
    cost of the wholly owned phases 1 and 2 of the Little Bow ASP project is
    approximately $59 million (excluding the cost of capitalized chemicals).
    The scheduling of these expenditures is $38 million in 2013, $4 million
    in 2014, and $11 million in 2015 relating to the phase 2 implementation.
    With sanctioning, field construction will proceed during this summer,
    which will permit January 2014 first injection and initial incremental
    oil volumes by mid 2014.  
    
--  Based on Southern Alberta analog pools and Little Bow reservoir model
    studies with predicted recoveries as high as a 17 percent incremental
    reservoir recovery, Zargon's internal base case sanctioning economics
    use a 12 percent incremental reservoir recovery factor and predicts an
    estimated 4.87 million barrels of proved and probable oil reserves. The
    increased reserves are due in part to an updated reservoir model with
    increased chemical injections, and the corresponding phase 1 and 2
    chemical costs for the six year chemical injection period (2014-2020)
    will be capitalized and are estimated at $66 million ($50 million PVBT
    10%). 
    
--  Based on Zargon's base case economics, incremental oil production from
    phases 1 and 2 is estimated to average 1,470 barrels of oil per day in
    the five year 2016 to 2020 period. The long-life stable production
    profile of the ASP project is well suited for Zargon's dividend paying
    business model. 
    
--  Phase 1 and 2 field netbacks are estimated, assuming a field oil price
    of $68 per barrel ($85 Cdn. per barrel Edmonton par price), to be
    approximately $50 per barrel of incremental oil production. Zargon
    estimates that the phase 1 and 2 before tax rate of return for this
    enhanced oil recovery project will be 18 percent. The project is
    calculated to have a breakeven (PVBT 10%) field oil price of $48 per
    barrel. Potential upsides to these results could come from follow-on
    phases, higher oil prices, improved reservoir recoveries or Alberta
    Crown tertiary royalty modifications. 
    
--  Follow-on capital expenditures for phases 3 and 4 of the Little Bow ASP
    project are expected to be completed by 2017 with forecasted total
    combined phase 1 to 4 peak production rates expected to occur in 2020 at
    a combined incremental production rate of 2,300 barrels of oil per day.
    For further information regarding the Little Bow ASP project, please
    refer to the company's updated corporate presentation, which is
    available on our website at www.zargon.ca. 



OPERATIONAL UPDATE:


--  Fourth quarter 2012 total production averaged 7,720 barrels of oil
    equivalent per day (on a 6:1 equivalency basis), a one percent increase
    from the prior quarter's rate of 7,634 barrels of oil equivalent per
    day. 
    
--  Fourth quarter 2012 oil and liquids production volumes averaged 5,065
    barrels per day, essentially unchanged from 5,079 barrels per day in the
    prior quarter and less than one percent below production guidance levels
    of 5,100 barrels per day. On a production per million share basis
    (basic), oil and liquids production averaged 170 barrels per day in the
    fourth quarter essentially unchanged from the prior quarter's rate of
    171 barrels per day. 
    
--  Fourth quarter 2012 natural gas production volumes averaged 15.93
    million cubic feet per day, a four percent increase from the prior
    quarter rate of 15.33 million cubic feet per day and three percent above
    production guidance levels of 15.50 million cubic feet per day. The
    production gains came from the reactivation of natural gas wells that
    had been shut-in during the summer due to very low field natural gas
    prices. 
    
--  Fourth quarter 2012 oil and liquids production represented 66 percent of
    total production based on a 6:1 equivalent basis, up from 61 and 58
    percent weightings in fourth quarter 2011 and 2010, respectively. 
    
--  For calendar 2012, Zargon's production averaged 8,117 barrels of oil
    equivalent per day, comprised of 5,255 barrels of oil and liquids per
    day and 17.17 million cubic feet of natural gas per day. 
    
--  During the full year 2012, Zargon spent $58.2 million (unaudited) on
    field activities and a further $6.5 million (unaudited) on the Little
    Bow ASP project. These expenditures were partially offset by a net $34.5
    million (unaudited) of property dispositions and resulted in net 2012
    total capital expenditures of $30.2 million (unaudited).  
    
--  During the 2012 fourth quarter, Zargon spent $22.5 million (unaudited)
    on field capital programs (exclusive of $3.2 million of ASP related
    expenditures). Zargon completed an active 15.0 net well oil exploitation
    drilling program (13.0 net horizontal wells) that resulted in 14.0 net
    oil wells and 1.0 water disposal well. The drilling program included 4.8
    Williston Basin horizontal Frobisher and Midale oil wells, 3.0 oil wells
    in the Taber Sunburst property, along with 4.0 Hamilton Lake and 2.0
    Bellshill Lake oil exploitation wells in the Alberta Plains North core
    area. The capital program also included significant battery, pipeline
    and infrastructure upgrade expenditures at Hamilton Lake, Bellshill
    Lake, Little Bow, Elswick and Steelman. 
    
--  Results from the Bellshill Lake and Taber fourth quarter drilling
    programs met or exceeded expectations. In the Williston Basin, three of
    the five locations met or exceeded expectations. At Hamilton Lake, three
    monobore horizontal multi-frac locations were drilled in an attempt to
    reduce costs and improve recoveries from our wholly owned 47 section
    Viking oil resource opportunity. Significant improvements in costs were
    made, but initial production data from these wells did not perform up to
    our 60 thousand barrels of oil reserves per well type curve that had
    been based on the results of the first five horizontal locations drilled
    on the property. Prior to drilling further wells on this property, we
    will rework our technical analysis to determine the optimal approach to
    develop the Hamilton Lake oil resource. 
    
--  During this 2013 year's "heavy spend" period for the construction of the
    Little Bow ASP project, Zargon will proceed with a modest conventional
    oil exploitation capital program. In the first quarter of 2013, we will
    drill five Midale drainage locations in the Williston Basin. In the
    summer, five Taber Sunburst and two Bellshill Viking horizontal wells
    are planned. Williston Basin drilling activities will resume this fall
    with an additional five locations. Additional wells will be added to the
    conventional oil exploitation budget throughout the year, as we complete
    the Little Bow construction project milestones. 



2013 CAPITAL AND PRODUCTION GUIDANCE:


###PRECONTENT2###

2012 YEAR END RESERVES:

###PRECONTENT3###

DETAILED RESERVE INFORMATION:


Reserves included herein are stated on a gross company working interest basis unless otherwise noted. All reserves information has been prepared in accordance with National Instrument 51-101 Standards of Disclosure ("NI 51-101"). In addition to the detailed information disclosed in this press release, more detailed information will be included in Zargon's 2012 Annual Information Form to be filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and posted on our website (www.zargon.ca) in March 2013.


Based on the independent reserves evaluation conducted by McDaniel effective December 31, 2012, and prepared in accordance with NI 51-101, Zargon had proved and probable reserves of 31.19 million barrels of oil equivalent. Reserve reductions from exploration and development activities (including revisions) and corporate and net property acquisitions/dispositions were negative 0.13 million barrels of oil equivalent.

###PRECONTENT4###

A summary reconciliation of the 2012 year end reserve assignments with the reserves reported in the 2011 year end report based on McDaniel's forecast prices and costs is presented below:

###PRECONTENT5###

On a proved and probable basis, Zargon's oil and liquids reserves from development activities increased by 2.02 million barrels, and after net dispositions of 1.10 million barrels the net increase was 0.92 million barrels before production of 1.92 million barrels. Overall, field capital exploration and development programs provided 1.53 million barrels of oil equivalent of new additions. Net property acquisitions/dispositions for 2012 removed 1.09 million barrels of oil equivalent, and provided $34.5 million of net proceeds to Zargon. During the year, positive technical revisions pertaining to Alberta Plains Taber and Little Bow and the Williston Basin Elswick and Ralph oil exploitation properties were partially offset by negative oil reserve adjustments at Alberta Plains North St. Anne property and other minor properties. With the sharply lower natural gas prices in 2012, negative proved and probable natural gas revisions totaling 7.02 billion cubic feet were booked at Jarrow, Pembina and other selected Alberta properties. As a result, overall technical reserve revisions were a negative 0.57 million barrels of oil equivalent.

###PRECONTENT6###

Zargon's reserves are characterized by a high developed producing component. Proved developed producing reserves represent 93 percent of total proved reserves while proved and probable developed reserves account for 75 percent of total proved and probable reserves. For the Little Bow ASP project, McDaniel has assigned 4.39 million barrels of oil equivalent reserves in the probable undeveloped category, which represents 83 percent of the undeveloped reserves and 14 percent of Zargon's total proved and probable reserves assignment.


FINDING, DEVELOPMENT AND ACQUISITION COSTS:


We have presented finding and development costs below both including and excluding acquisitions and dispositions. While NI 51-101 requires that the effects of acquisitions and dispositions be excluded, we have included these items because we believe that acquisitions and dispositions can have a significant impact on our ongoing reserve replacement costs and that excluding these amounts could result in an inaccurate portrayal of our cost structure.


For 2012, Zargon's proved and probable finding, development and acquisition ("FD&A") costs, taking into account reserve revisions and changes in estimated future development capital during the period were not meaningful due to net dispositions and natural gas reserve write downs. For the purposes of this calculation, the $30.2 million of 2012 net capital additions was combined with a decrease in estimated future development capital for proved and probable reserves of $5.3 million ($123.5 million at December 31, 2012 compared to $128.8 million at December 31, 2011). More than 80 percent of Zargon's 2012 year end future capital costs are attributed to the Little Bow ASP project.


Excluding acquisitions (and dispositions), Zargon's 2012 proved and probable finding and development ("F&D") costs were $61.82 per barrel of oil equivalent. Considering that essentially all of Zargon's 2012 capital program was directed to oil projects, it is insightful to calculate Zargon's proved and probable F&D costs on an "oil only" basis ($58.2 million of conventional capital expenditures plus $6.5 million of ASP capital expenditures, less a $5.3 million change in future capital estimates with 2.02 million barrels of oil and liquid additions). Using this approach, proved and probable F&D "oil only" costs were $29.38 per barrel.


Similarly, Zargon's proved and probable FD&A costs on an "oil only" basis were $27.01 per barrel ($58.2 million of conventional capital expenditures plus $6.5 million of ASP capital expenditures, less $34.5 million of net dispositions and less a $5.3 million change in future capital estimates with 0.92 million barrels of oil and liquid additions). These "oil only' costs compare with Zargon's unaudited 2012 corporate average field oil netback (before interest, general and administrative and other costs) of more than $40 per barrel of oil (unaudited).

###PRECONTENT7###

NET ASSET VALUE:


Zargon's oil, liquids and natural gas reserves were evaluated using McDaniel's price forecasts effective January 1, 2013, prior to provisions for income taxes, interest, debt service charges, transaction costs and general and administrative expenses. The estimated values of future net revenue disclosed do not represent the fair market value of the reserves.

###PRECONTENT8###

The following net asset value table shows what is customarily referred to as a "produce-out" net asset value calculation under which the current value of Zargon's reserves would be produced at McDaniel's forecast future prices and costs. The value is a snapshot in time as at December 31, 2012, and is based on various assumptions including commodity prices and foreign exchange rates that vary over time. In this analysis, the present value of the proved and probable reserves is calculated at a before tax 10 percent discount rate. In the net asset value calculation, Zargon's 337 thousand net acres of land is valued at $21.7 million based on the independent firm of Seaton-Jordan & Associates Ltd. valuation as at December 31, 2012.

###PRECONTENT9###

The following table provides net asset value estimates at December 31, 2012 for all four reserve categories.

###PRECONTENT10###

Forward-Looking Statements - This press release contains forward-looking statements relating to our plans and operations as at February 20, 2013. Forward-looking statements typically use words such as "anticipate", "continue", "estimate", "expect", "forecast", "may", "will", "project", "should", "plan", "intend", "believe" and similar expressions (including the negatives thereof). In particular, this press release contains forward-looking statements relating, but not limited to: our business strategy, plans and management focus; the timing of release of our 2012 financial results, our 2013 and beyond capital expenditure program, the source of funding of our 2013 and beyond capital program, anticipated 2013 and beyond production guidance and product mix, drilling, completion, development and exploitation plans and the results therefrom, future drilling locations, plans to sell non-strategic assets and to review and implement cost saving opportunities, plans with respect to our Little Bow ASP project, anticipated netbacks, capital expenditures and other costs associated with the ASP project and the anticipated results from this project, and sources of funding for our capital expenditure program. In addition, all statements relating to reserves in this press release are deemed to be forward-looking as they involve an implied assessment, based on certain assumptions and estimates, that the reserves described, can be properly produced in the future.


By their nature, forward-looking statements are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties, some of which are beyond our control, such as those relating to results of operations and financial condition, general economic conditions, industry conditions, changes in regulatory and taxation regimes, volatility of commodity prices, escalation of operating and capital costs, currency fluctuations, the availability of services, imprecision of reserve estimates, geological, technical, drilling and processing problems, environmental risks, weather, the lack of availability of qualified personnel or management, stock market volatility, the ability to access sufficient capital from internal and external sources and competition from other industry participants for, among other things, capital, services, acquisitions of reserves, undeveloped lands and skilled personnel. Risks are described in more detail in our Annual Information Form, which will be available on sedar and our website. Forward-looking statements are provided to allow investors to have a greater understanding of our business.


You are cautioned that the assumptions, including, among other things, future oil and natural gas prices; future capital expenditure levels; future production levels; future exchange rates; the cost of developing and expanding our assets; our ability to obtain equipment in a timely manner to carry out development activities; our ability to market our oil and natural gas successfully to current and new customers; the impact of increasing competition; our ability to obtain financing on acceptable terms; and our ability to add production and reserves through our development and acquisition activities used in the preparation of such information, although considered reasonable at the time of preparation, may prove to be imprecise and, as such, undue reliance should not be placed on forward-looking statements. Our actual results, performance, or achievement could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements. We can give no assurance that any of the events anticipated will transpire or occur or, if any of them do, what benefits we will derive from them. The forward-looking information contained in this document is expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. Our policy for updating forward-looking statements is that Zargon disclaims, except as required by law, any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.


Other Advisories - Boe's may be misleading, particularly if used in isolation. A boe conversion ratio of 6 Mcf: 1 bbl is based on an energy equivalency conversion method primarily applicable at the burner tip and does not represent a value equivalency at the wellhead. In addition, given that the value ratio based on the current price of crude oil as compared to natural gas is significantly different from the energy equivalency of 6:1, utilizing a conversion ratio on a 6:1 basis may be misleading as an indication of value. The estimates of reserves and future net revenue for individual properties may not reflect the same confidence level as estimates of reserves and future net revenue for all properties, due to the effects of aggregation.


FURTHER INFORMATION:


Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd. is a Calgary based oil and natural gas company working in the Western Canadian and Williston sedimentary basins that has delivered a long history of returns and dividends (distributions). Zargon's business is focused on oil exploitation projects that profitably increase oil production and recovery factors from existing oil reservoirs.


In order to learn more about Zargon, we encourage you to visit Zargon's website at www.zargon.ca : www.zargon.ca where you will find a current shareholder presentation, financial reports and historical news releases.



Contacts:

C.H. Hansen

President and Chief Executive Officer

403-264-9992


J.B. Dranchuk

Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer

403-264-9992


Zargon Oil & Gas Ltd.
zargon@zargon.ca :

www.zargon.ca

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