Late in 2017, Apex contracted with CGG to reprocess 1,400 square kilometers of older 3D seismic data. The new, reprocessed data set greatly improved the subsurface image of previously identified prospects and leads and also resulted in a new trend of oil prospects. Apex currently has multiple prospects that are attractive to drill, including shallow oil prospects and deeper but relatively large gas prospects, and has prioritized the oil prospects for its first two wells. A rig has been contracted with the Egyptian Chinese Drilling Company (ECDC) to drill the first two prospects starting in the first quarter of 2019. Future drilling plans will depend on the results from the first three exploration wells planned in 2019. Ongoing mapping and interpretation of the seismic continues with additional prospects being evaluated. We look forward to exploring this large concession that is on trend with some of the larger discoveries in the Western Desert.
Acquisition of 1,200 square kilometers of new 3D seismic is currently underway by BGP in two separate areas on the concession. Apex started operations with mine-clearing activities in July 2018 in the first area, NW Zarif. At present, this area has virtually no 3D seismic coverage. We have completed the seismic acquisition program and are currently processing the data. Acquisition in the second area, NW Raml, is expected to be complete in the second quarter of 2019. Very little 3D seismic has been acquired in the NW Raml area, due in part to the significant challenges of running vehicles and equipment in the sabkha that partially covers the Qattara Depression. Despite the challenges, there is great anticipation of what may be found in a prolific basin that has not been fully explored. Following completion of seismic acquisition, processing, interpretation and mapping, the first of four exploratory wells at SEM is scheduled to begin drilling in the fourth quarter of 2019.