Sterling Resources Ltd. Issues Statement of Facts

    BUCHAREST, ROMANIA, and CALGARY, Feb. 5 /CNW/ - Sterling Resources Ltd.
("Sterling" or the "Company") (TSX-V: SLG) issues the following statements of
    Following the resolution of the Maritime Boundary Dispute between Romania
and the Ukraine by the International Court of Justice (the "ICJ") on February
3, 2009, there have been media reports in Romania questioning the validity and
extent of certain concessions granted to Sterling by the Romanian Government.
While it is Sterling's policy not to comment on market rumours or speculation,
in light of the seriousness of the questions raised and the allegations made,
Sterling is issuing the following statement of facts in relation to the
company, the concession agreement and its track record of operations and
investment in Romania since 1997.
    The petroleum agreement for blocks XIII Pelican and XV Midia was executed
on August 6, 1992, pursuant to the Law no. 64/1992 concerning the grant of
facilities in order to attract foreign capital in the sector of exploration
and production of crude oil and gas reserves, and was approved by Government
Decision no. 570 of 1992. The petroleum agreement was awarded based on an
international tender and is a contract at the titleholder's sole risk and
cost. Sterling became a party to the petroleum agreement effective April 1,
1997 and is currently recognized as the titleholder under the petroleum
    Due to the dispute between Romania and Ukraine concerning the delineation
of the Black Sea continental shelf, on December 15, 2003 the initial
exploration period was suspended until resolution of the dispute by the ICJ.
It was agreed that Sterling could resume petroleum operations solely in
certain portions of the contract area and maintain the suspension for other
portions of the respective blocks.
    In 2007 and 2008 the suspension was removed for a total area of 254
km(2), located on the Midia block, outside the area disputed between Romania
and Ukraine. In this area, Sterling as title holder of the petroleum
agreement, drilled three (3) exploration wells, which confirmed the existence
of certain natural gas resources. Currently, the commerciality of these
discoveries has not been declared to the National Agency for Mineral Resources
("NAMR"), as provided in the Petroleum Law no. 238 of 2004 and the petroleum
    In the event the resources are commercial, it is estimated that the
development would require further investment anticipated to exceed US$ 400
million, to be made at the sole expense and risk of Sterling and its partners,
with production to start sometime in 2011 or 2012.
    The petroleum agreement has been amended numerous times over the past 17
years. The last such amendment, The Eleventh Amendment, was approved by
Government Decision no. 1443/12.11.2008, and was executed between the NAMR and
Sterling on August 24, 2007 when no forecast could be made of the date of
issuance of the decision of the ICJ or the content of such decision. The
Eleventh Amendment was meant to bring the provisions of the petroleum
agreement, which was signed back in 1992, in line with the current legal
provisions, mainly those related to the petroleum, fiscal and environmental
matters, which would have allowed Sterling to move on to the development and
production of Doina and Ana structures discovered in the Midia block, located
outside the disputed area. The Eleventh Amendment took over 20 months to be
approved and followed the approving process by the line ministries, as
provided by the existing regulations, until final approval by the Government
on November 12, 2008.
    The remaining area of the Pelican and Midia blocks (in total about 3,865
km(2)) continues to be under suspension. In light of the recent decision by
the ICJ resolving the long standing border dispute between Romania and the
Ukraine, the removal from suspension will be discussed with the NAMR. Sterling
has not been awarded any new acreage as a result of the ICJ decision. In
aggregate, commencing from the date of approval of the petroleum agreement,
ten (10) exploration wells have been drilled and seismic works of over 11,000
km carried out, for a total investment of approximately US$ 130 million.

    Sterling is a Canadian company having its head office in Calgary,
Alberta. Sterling is listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, its shares being
traded under the symbol "SLG". Sterling is conducting petroleum operations in
United Kingdom (both in the North Sea and onshore), in France and in Romania
both onshore (South Craiova block) and in the Black Sea (Pelican XIII and
Midia XV blocks). Sterling has been holding an interest in the Pelican and
Midia blocks since April 1, 1997, which interest currently stands at 100%.
This interest will be reduced to 32.5% subject to completion of certain
agreements with third parties to acquire an interest in the blocks.

    Midia Resources S.R.L. ("Midia") is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sterling
and acts as operator and Sterling's fiscal representative in Romania, being
responsible for the management of the conduct of petroleum operations, which
are carried out by specialized contractors. Midia maintains an active office
in Bucharest from which it runs the Romanian operations. Midia is not a
titleholder under the petroleum agreement, and it receives the necessary funds
from its parent company to conduct the petroleum operations on behalf of

    The TSX Venture Exchange has not reviewed and does not accept
    responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

    Filer Profile No. 00002072

    Forward-Looking Statements

    All statements included in this press release that address activities,
events or developments that Sterling expects, believes or anticipates will or
may occur in the future are forward-looking statements, including without
limitation statements as to expected future development investments in the
Midia and Pelican blocks and anticipated commencement of production therefrom.
In addition, statements relating to reserves or resources are deemed to be
forward-looking statements as they involve the implied assessment, based on
certain estimates and assumptions that the reserves and resources described
can be profitably produced in the future.
    These forward-looking statements involve numerous assumptions made by
Sterling based on its experience, perception of historical trends, current
conditions, expected future developments and other factors it believes are
appropriate in the circumstances. In addition, these statements involve
substantial known and unknown risks and uncertainties that contribute to the
possibility that the predictions, forecasts, projections and other-forward
looking statements will prove inaccurate, certain of which are beyond
Sterling's control, including: the impact of general economic conditions in
the areas in which Sterling operates, civil unrest, industry conditions,
changes in laws and regulations including the adoption of new environmental
laws and regulations and changes in how they are interpreted and enforced,
increased competition, the lack of availability of qualified personnel or
management, fluctuations in commodity prices, foreign exchange or interest
rates, stock market volatility and obtaining required approvals of regulatory
authorities. In addition there are risks and uncertainties associated with oil
and gas operations. Readers should also carefully consider the matters
discussed under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Information
    Undue reliance should not be placed on these forward-looking statements,
as there can be no assurance that the plans, intentions or expectations upon
which they are based will occur. Sterling's actual results, performance or
achievements could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by,
these forward-looking statements. These statements speak only as of the date
of the press release. Sterling does not intend and does not assume any
obligation to update these forward-looking statements except as required by
    Financial outlook information contained in this press release about
prospective results of operations, financial position or cash flows is based
on assumptions about future events, including economic conditions and proposed
courses of action, based on management's assessment of the relevant
information currently available. Readers are cautioned that such financial
outlook information contained in this press release should not be used for
purpose other than for which it is disclosed herein.

    %SEDAR: 00002072E

For further information:

For further information: visit or contact:
Stewart G. Gibson, Chief Executive Officer, Phone: 44-133082-6717, Mobile:
44-7768-042219,; Stephen Birrell, Vice
President, Romanian Operations, Phone: 40-21-231-3256, Mobile: 40-729 199316,; George Kesteven, Manager, Corporate and
Investor Relations, Phone: (403) 215-9265, Fax: (403) 215-9279,

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