Shell Philippines Exploration has entered into an agreement with Nido Petroleum to farm in to the Service Contract 54 Block B (SC54B) in the Palawan Basin of the Philippines.

Under the agreement, Shell will acquire a 45% participating interest in the SC54B block with Nido contributing 27% and partner Kairiki Energy contributing 18%.

The transaction is subject to certain conditions, including joint venture approvals and the approval by the Philippine Department of Energy of certain amendments to the service contract and the assignment of the relevant participating interest to Shell.

Nido president and CEO Jocot Dios said that this arrangement allows Nido to quickly drill its leading prospect Gindara.

Gindara lies approximately 50km immediately south of the Shell operated Malampaya gas field in SC38, the largest discovery made in the Philippines to date and currently on production.

Nido has commenced drilling planning, including the ordering of long-lead items and materials, to allow the Gindara prospect to be drilled during the March to May 2011 drilling window.