Sound Oil May Accelerate Laura Field Development

Italy-focused Sound Oil announced Friday that its Laura field development in the Gulf of Taranto may be accelerated after the firm began discussions with the Italian Ministry of Economic Development about the project.

Laura is a 30 billion standard cubic feet discovery, previously discovered by ENI in 1980. Sound said that it is talking to the Ministry of Economic Development about applying directly for a production concession – rather than a permit to drill an appraisal well – in order to accelerate production from Laura by at least a year.

Sound also reported that it recently received a farm-in offer for its Badile exploration prospect from what it described as a "high quality" potential partner. The Badile prospect, onshore Italy in the Po Valley, is estimated to hold resources some 23 million barrels of oil.

The firm's 21 billion cubic feet Nervesa gas discovery in northern Italy is currently undergoing operations to prepare the site ahead of production. These operations will continue until February 12, when written permission from the authorities will be needed to proceed to complete the site.

Meanwhile, Sound is also continuing to revamp field facilities at its Rapagnano field in the Marche region of Italy. These facilities are now expected to be successfully commissioned by the end of February, with first gas following shortly afterward.

Sound added that it has completed a full review of its asset portfolio and expects to put in place a structure divestment process for a package of non-core assets.

"The company is making good progress on its core strategic objectives, including potentially accelerating production from the Laura discovery," Sound CEO James Parsons commented in a statement.

"Whilst Italian approval processes are causing operations at Nervesa and Rapagnano to progress slower than we would have liked, both are moving forward and our focus remains on delivering a successful well and commercial first gas for our shareholders."

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