London-based energy firm inks oil exploration with N.Korea

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London-based energy company Aminex PLC has signed a 10-year contract with North Korea to search for oil off the country's east coast, according to a statement seen in Singapore Wednesday.

The production sharing contract signed by an Aminex associate called Korex covers about 50,681 square kilometres (20,272 square miles), Aminex said in the statement.

Korex is a 50-50 venture between Aminex and Singapore's Chosun Energy, it said.

The contract, signed at on unspecified date, was awarded by the Korean Oil Exploration Company (KOEC), the communist nation's state oil firm.

"The East Sea is a lightly-explored area but with potential for large oil-bearing structures which may involve introducing larger companies as partners at a later date if it is to be explored comprehensively," Aminex chairman Brian Hall said.

Aminex, with listings on the London and Irish stock exchanges, describes itself as an upstream oil and gas company with concessions in several countries including the United States, Kenya and Egypt.

According to a filing with Singapore's Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority obtained by AFP, Chosun Energy is an investment holding company with a paid-up capital of 1.2 million dollars.

It listed its address as the German Centre in Singapore, a building that hosts foreign companies, with three directors -- one American, one Briton and a Singaporean.

© 2010 AFP

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