Mediterranean Oil & Gas (MOG) said Thursday it would continue to actively pursue the award the Environmental Impact Assessment and production concession for its Ombrina Mare oil and gas field offshore Italy in the central Adriatic Sea.
The Ombrina Mare field has an estimated 40 million barrels of 2P oil reserves along with 6.5 billion cubic feet of 2P gas reserves, according to MOG, but the firm has had to face obstacles developing the field ever since the Italian Parliament brought Decree No. 128/10 into force in August 2010, which meant an effective ban on several offshore exploration and production activities. A new decree (No. 83/12) was introduced in June last year that exempted certain projects from the ban, including applications for production concessions that were under review at the time the original decree came into force.
Since Ombrina Mare was one of those production concessions that were under review at the time of Decree No. 128/10, the company moved ahead late last year with its seeking of an award of a production concession for the field. However, despite a ruling in favor of MOG's EIA submission in January this year, as well as the Italian Ministry of Environment's own EIA director general sending the draft EIA decree with a positive recommendation to the minister on April 17, the EIA decree (which is required before MOG can develop Ombrina Mare) has still not been signed.
Commenting in the company's first half results statement Thursday, MOG Chief Executive William Higgs said:
"Although we have made strong progress in the de-risking of Ombrina Mare with the EIA ruling in favor of the company, we are experiencing significant delays in the signing of the EIA Decree. We continue to work with the relevant authorities to seek resolution of the issue."
For the moment, MOG's northern Adriatic Sea-located Guendalina gas field – which is operated by Eni and in which MOG has a 20-percent stake – continue to provide the majority of the company's revenues and cash flow.
Meanwhile, Higgs added that the firm remains actively engaged in pursuing exploration and growth opportunity and is looking forward to the drilling of its first exploration well in Malta Offshore Area 4 with partner Genel Energy.
During the first half of 2013, MOG's total gas production came in at approximately 610 million cubic feet – representing a decrease of 33 percent compared to 1H 2012. MOG said production levels were down year-on-year due to the GUE-2 well being taken offline to determine the cause of an influx of water.
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