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Wessex Exploration has a portfolio of oil and gas exploration interests. The focus is on areas that are near to existing discoveries but where there have previously been difficulties in exploring and developing the assets. Wessex floated on Plus-quoted on 15 December 2009 but it has been in existence for 10 years. The expected start price for trading in the shares after the introduction was 1.75p a share and the shares closed the first day’s trading at 2.12p a share. Wessex has built up stakes in four exploration projects. The main interest is 1.25% of a licence area offshore of Guyane (French Guiana) in Africa, which it holds via a 50% stake in Northpet Investments Ltd, the owner of 2.5% of the licence area. Tullow is the operator of the Guyane Maritime licence and Shell and Total have also acquired stakes of 33% and 25% respectively. At the time of the flotation Wessex’s corporate adviser Westhouse believed the Wessex stake in these projects could be worth up to $227m. The other interests are offshore of Juan de Nova in the Mozambique Channel, onshore southern England and the Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic. Wessex has the rights to 70% of the Juan de Nova Est licence, which is to the north west of Madagascar. The area is offshore of Juan de Nova, which is considered by the United Nations to be a ‘French possession under dispute’. There are two potential exploration areas that have been suggested by initial evaluation of data. In southern England, Wessex has a 50% stake in PEDL238, which is just north of the Wytch Farm discovery in Devon, a 30% interest in the PEDL089 licence in Hampshire and 25% of the PEDL239 licence on the Isle of Wight. The last of these three other interests is a disputed territory in Africa, which is claimed by Morocco. Wessex owns 50% of the Guelta and Bojador blocks in what is considered by the UN to be a non-self-governing territory.
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