The partner will hold stakes in SC 54 (excluding the shelfal area, which has been left out of the package, SC 58 and SC 63) and will carry out a multi-well drilling program of prospects selected from the top 20 prospects Nido has identified from seismic programs.
The seismic programs had identified 40 prospects and leads with total potential unrisked oil in place, of 11.6 billion barrels. The top prospects range in size from 97 million to 2.7 billion barrels of oil in place.
Nido plans to retain a minority working interest in the basin and expects that its share of revenue from the Galoc field would allow it to participate in drilling many, if not all, of its top 20 prospects over the next five years.
"Securing a technically capable operator to partner with Nido in testing the significant deepwater potential of the Palawan Basin is an important and consistent component of Nido's exploration strategy," exploration head Jon Pattillo said.
"Whilst not yet complete, the results of our seismic processing have so far generated a prospect and lead inventory that can be truly classified as world-class. Whilst much work remains to be done, commencing the search for a strategic partner represents an exciting event for Nido."
According to chief executive Jocot de Dios, "Nido has long believed in the potential of the NW Palawan Basin to be an overlooked exploration province".
"Our efforts to date vindicate that view and have revealed a potential prize greater than our expectations. Given the sizes of the identified targets, it is apparent that just one discovery has the potential to transform Nido - we intend to drill 20 of these large prospects over the coming years."
Nido is calling on interested parties to submit an expression of interest by June 6, 2008 and will confirm its choice by June 30.
The company has a 60% interest in SC 54 and 50% stakes in both SC 58 and Sc 63.