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EnCore Oil Plc, London, (London: EO) has acquired the majority of the U.K. North Sea portfolio of Virgo Oil and Gas Plc, consisting of Grove Energy Ltd., Vancouver, (Toronto Venture, London: GRV), privately held U.K.-based Virgo Energy Ltd. and Nido Petroleum Ltd., Perth, Australia, (Australia: NDO) for a total of 28 millions shares valued at approximately US$749 million. Grove has received 9.9 million shares and retains direct 10% interest in Block 42/13 and surrounding acreage in the northwestern part of the U.K. Southern Gas Basin. Virgo and Nido received the remaining 27.1 million shares. The assets include interests in 24 exploration blocks on 3,344 gross square kilometers (1,482 net); four in the Northern North Sea, five in the Central North Sea and 15 in the Southern North Sea. Grove Energy chief executive Glenn Whiddon says, "For Grove shareholders this transaction accomplishes several important objectives–we consolidate our North Sea portfolio to reduce its risk profile; we convert our property interests into EnCore shares with its diversified exploration portfolio, significant upside potential, strong balance sheet and excellent management; and we retain a 10% interest in the highly prospective Block 42/13 and surrounding acreage."