TANGIERS Petroleum has won the bid for an 87.5 per cent share in large acreage position onshore Alaska, in a move company management expects will turn the group around.

The group will hold a 10 year primary lease on Project Icewine, up to 35,183 hectares of a 40,210 hectare permit in the state’s far north.

The fact that the company will have operatorship of the permit, as well as a large acreage position with no mandatory relinquishments, gives it flexibility for a possible farm-down, the company said.

An added bonus is the fact that up to 85% of exploration expenditure in 2015 is cash-refundable by the State of Alaska through the alternative credit for exploration and carried forward loss credit schemes.

Tangiers’ managing director Dave Wall said the project had three key features which he found attractive for future growth –funding flexibility, ground floor entry and “huge upside potential”.

“Project Icewine is the first step towards rebuilding the company,” he said.

“The project is located in a prolific oil producing region, with good infrastructure and significant nearby activity by major industry players.”

“The board is looking forward to working with our US partners in order to unlock the substantial value we believe resides within the project.”

Tangiers will hold the permit through its wholly owned subsidiary Accumulate Energy Management, and will execute the project in conjunction with Houston-based Arktos Energy Management.

The primary objective is an untested, unconventional liquids-rich shale play in the prolific shale complex which the company said had sourced the largest oilfield in North America

The shallower conventional opportunity is a high-porosity, deepwater sand complex that is the hottest play on the North Slope and locally highlighted by three undeveloped discoveries on adjacent acreage

The initial work program over the permits is focused on moving towards drilling of the first well or attracting a farm-in partner in the near-to-medium term.

The estimated 2015 calendar year budget of US$2.1 million comprises the purchase, reprocessing and re-interpretation of existing 2D seismic in addition to well planning activities and overheads.

Tangiers formally exited its only remaining asset, the Tarfaya block 8 offshore Morocco, in October after its Tao 1 well failed to hit hydrocarbons.

This came after the group made an off-market takeover offer for Africa-focused Jacka Resources earlier this year – one which ultimately ended unsuccessfully after only 15.2 per cent of the group’s shareholders accepted the deal.