(EnergyAsia, February 4 2013, Monday) — Canada’s Bellatrix Exploration said it and an unnamed South Korean company have formed an equal joint venture to invest a total of C$300 million to develop shale deposits in west-central Alberta province. (US$1=C$1).

The Asian firm, likely to be state-owned Korea National Oil Corp (KNOC), acquired another Canadian oil and gas company, Harvest Energy Trust, for C$1.7 billion in 2009 as part of its long-term plan to enhance energy supply security for South Korea.

The partners will each contribute C$150 million to participate in a programme to drill 83 wells in the Cardium light oil shale field starting April 1.

As a result of the joint venture, Bellatrix said it is increasing its net capital expenditure plan for 2013 from the previously announced level of C$180 million to between C$230 and C$240 million not including the contribution of its South Korean partner.

The Calgary-based company, which owns assets in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s Peace River Arch region, said it expects to daily production to rise from a previous estimate of 20,000 to 21,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boed) to 24,000 to 25,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boed) for 2013.