Italy and Algeria-focused oil and gas junior Petroceltic issued a statement Friday welcoming the Italian government's recent decision to exempt certain offshore hydrocarbon projects from Decree 128/2010 that was introduced in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
The 2010 decree banned offshore exploration and production activities involving liquid hydrocarbons within five miles of the Italian coast, and also banned similar activities within 12 miles of certain designated protected marine and coastal areas.
On Wednesday, the new legislation – Decree No. 83/12 – became effective, although it requires further ratification by the Italian parliament within two months.
Petroceltic's Elsa discovery – which has resources estimated at some 100 million barrels of oil and 31.5 billion cubic feet of gas – was one of the projects affected by Decree 128/2010. The firm also has applications for a number of permits covering other zones in the Adriatic, as well as a permit application in the Gulf of Taranto, that were affected by the ban.
In Friday's statement, Petroceltic Chief Executive Brian O'Cathain, said:
"We are pleased that the Decree clarifies the regulations covering offshore oil and gas activities in Italy in general and in particular Petroceltic's offshore interests. We fully support the provisions relating to the monitoring and enforcement of marine environmental protection and supervision of environmental safety for offshore exploration and production activities where Italy already has an exemplary record. These new measures will help address concerns about the potential impact of exploration and production on the marine environment, and provide a clear framework for the safe resumption of exploration and development of Italy's valuable natural resources to the benefit of the national and regional communities and economies."
As well as its Italian offshore interests Petroceltic has exploration interests in the onshore Po Valley region of Italy, near the French and Swiss borders. The firm is also the operator, with a 56.6-percent interest, in Algeria's Isarene Producing Sharing Contract – where the firm hopes to achieve first gas in 2017 and is targeting 300-500 million standard cubic feet of gas per day.
Meanwhile, Petroceltic has a 20-percent interest in two exploration blocks in the Kurdistan region of Iraq.
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