Benchmark Energy provides update on Buena Vista farm-in; announces initial closing of CDN$4 million private placement



    /THIS NEWS RELEASE IS NOT FOR DISSEMINATION IN THE UNITED STATES OR TO
    ANY UNITED STATES NEWS SERVICES./

    CALGARY, July 11 /CNW/ - Benchmark Energy Corp. ("Benchmark" or the
"Company"), (TSXV:BEE) wishes to provide an update to the news release of May
29, 2008, whereby the Company reported that it had entered into a Letter
Agreement (the "Agreement") with Infinity Oil Limited ("Infinity"), an
Australian private company, whereby Benchmark could earn up to a 35%
participating interest in the Buena Vista Block (the "Block") in Colombia.
    Previously, the intent was for Benchmark to invest an estimated US$7.7
million to earn the 35% interest. However, with Benchmark's consent, Infinity
has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (the "MOU") with a third party who is
prepared to invest an estimated US$12.3 million to cover 100% of the costs of
a proposed 3D seismic program, plus 100% of the costs of drilling a
development well and an exploratory well, in return for a 30% interest in the
Block.
    As a result of this MOU, Benchmark is discussing with Infinity and its
partners in the Block an amended Agreement whereby Benchmark would earn up to
a 10% participating interest by investing up to US$2 million to undertake the
following:

    
      (a) pay 100% of the cost of a radial drilling operation to be performed
          on the Bolivar 1 well, such operation to include a remedial cement
          squeeze, up to a maximum of US$1 million, in order for Benchmark to
          earn a five percent (5%) participating interest in the Block if the
          operation is successful;

      (b) pay 100% of the cost of a radial drilling operation to be performed
          on the Bethel 1 well, such operation to include a remedial cement
          squeeze, up to a maximum of US$1 million, in order for Benchmark to
          earn a five percent (5%) participating interest in the Block if the
          operation is successful.
    

    Therefore, Benchmark's financial exposure would be greatly reduced, while
potentially benefiting by the estimated US$12.3 million investment to be made
by the third party. Benchmark's potential investment would equate to
US$200,000 per percentage point earned, whereas the third party will be
investing an estimated US$410,000 per percentage point earned.
    The Buena Vista Block lies 150 km north of the capital city of Bogota, in
the Eastern Cordillera Basin, on good roads and near oil infrastructure.
Oilfield supplies and services are readily available both in Bogota and in
Yopal to the east. There are 2 existing wells that have been drilled on the
Block, the Bolivar 1 and the Bethel 1; the Bolivar 1 well is currently
producing about 95 barrels of oil per day, and the Bethel 1 well is shut-in
awaiting a workover.
    The 3D seismic program discussed in the news release of May 29, 2008, has
commenced. The radial drilling of the Bolivar 1 and Bethel 1 wells would
likely commence during September of this year. The Company will provide a
further update on the status of the potential farm-in to the Buena Vista Block
when practicable.
    Furthermore, Benchmark reports an initial closing of the
previously-announced non-brokered private placement offering ("Offering") of
units ("Units") of up to CDN$4 million. An aggregate of 1,525,000 Units have
been sold to date in the Offering at a price of $0.40 per Unit, for aggregate
gross proceeds of $610,000. Each Unit is comprised of one common share of the
Company and one-half of one common share purchase warrant. Each whole warrant
is exercisable for a period of 12 months for one common share of the company
at a price of $0.65 per common share. The Units are subject to a four-month
statutory hold period and the proceeds from the Offering will be used to fund
Benchmark's ongoing capital expenditure program and for general corporate
purposes.
    The initial closing included participation by insiders of the Company for
a total of 1 million Units of the Offering on the same terms as the arm's
length investors. The participation by insiders in the Offering is considered
to be a "related party transaction" as defined under Multilateral Instrument
61-101 ("MI 61-101"). The transaction is exempt from the formal valuation and
minority shareholder approval requirements of MI 61-101 as neither the fair
market value of the of the securities being issued to insiders nor the
consideration being paid exceeds 25% of the Company's market capitalization.
    Benchmark is a junior Canadian oil and gas exploration company, focused
internationally.

    This news release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the
solicitation of any offer to buy the securities in any jurisdiction.

    The TSX Venture Exchange does not accept responsibility for the adequacy
    or accuracy of this release, and has neither approved nor disapproved the
    contents of this press release.





For further information:

For further information: Benchmark Energy Corp., David R. Robinson,
President & CEO, Phone: (403) 802-0770, Fax: (403) 266-5732, E-Mail:
drr@benchmarkenergy.com

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BENCHMARK ENERGY CORP.

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