Petroceltic International plc announced that its wholly owned Italian subsidiary, Petroceltic Italia S.r.l., has been awarded two exploration licenses in the central Adriatic offshore Italy.
Licences B.R 270 and B.R 271 are 55.8 square miles (144.5 square kilometers) and 126.2 square miles(327.1 square kilometers) in size respectively, and run for six years from the date of award. The Company has also applied for three other adjacent exploration permits in this area, which are currently under consideration by the Ministry of Economic Development. The permits, in water depths of 98 to 492 feet (30 to 150 meters), are located adjacent to existing oil and gas fields which have demonstrated three working hydrocarbon plays in this region; the Cretaceous Miglianico/Elsa basin floor fan, the Cretaceous to Miocene Rospo Mare/Ombrina Mare platform carbonate oil plays, and the Santo Stefano Mare Pliocene biogenic gas play.
Interpretation of 2D geophysical data has already revealed a number of prospects and leads on the permits, at all three hydrocarbon play levels. Future plans involve obtaining additional new geophysical data in order to high-grade prospects for possible future exploration drilling. The permits have been awarded 100% to Petroceltic; however, as part of a farm-in agreement signed with Orca Exploration Group Limited ("Orca") in June 2010, Orca will have an option to earn a 15 percent interest in these permits subject to the usual regulatory approvals.
Brian O'Cathain, Chief Executive of Petroceltic, commented:
"We are delighted with the award of these offshore exploration permits which is indicative of a desire to re-activate the offshore Italian exploration and production industry by the Government of Italy, for the benefit of the national and regional communities and economies, in line with the recently announced review of the national energy strategy by Minister Passera. Petroceltic is committed in all of its operations to act responsibly and with due care to the environment and local stakeholders, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Italian authorities to explore these prospective licenses".
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