The Italian authorities have accepted the required environmental impact studies and have issued the final decree of the Longastrino license in the Po Valley in which an ATI subsidiary has a 50% beneficial interest.
In addition, NPUK has been advised of the preliminary award of a further three licenses in which ATI subsidiaries have a 50% interest - Gattinara in the Western Po Valley, and offshore west of Sicily, d347C.R-.NP and d21G.R-.NP. Work on environmental impact studies will be commissioned shortly.
These decrees add to ATI's position in Italy:
Ten licences now granted by full decree:
License Area License Interest Size Onshore - Exploration Savio Po Valley 459 kmē 50.00% Cerasa Adriatic Coast 382 kmē 50.00% Nibbia Po Valley 253 kmē 50.00% Longastrino Po Valley 140 kmē 50.00% Offshore - Exploration ER.51.NP Tiber Delta 724 kmē 50.00% CR.146.NP Sicily Channel 620 kmē 50.00% CR.147.NP Sicily Channel 637 kmē 50.00% GR.17.NP Sicily Channel 709 kmē 50.00% GR.18.NP Sicily Channel 737 kmē 50.00% GR.19.NP Sicily Channel 710 kmē 50.00%
There are three licences for which the preliminary award has recently been offered subject to submission of acceptable environmental impact assessments:
License Area License Interest Size Onshore - Exploration Gattinara Po Valley 462 kmē 50.00% Offshore - Exploration d347C.R-.NP Sicily Channel 391 kmē 50.00% d21G.R-.NP Sicily Channel 713 kmē 50.00%
Derek Musgrove, Chairman of ATI, commented:
'The above awards, together with seven license applications (six uncontested) that came before the Italian Hydrocarbon licensing committee for consideration in December 2005, essentially complete the building of Northern and ATI's asset base in Italy.
This significant position has been built over a three and a half year period is demonstrative of the substantial and valuable lead time we now have over our competitors. For the main, it has been put together during a period of low oil prices, allowing us to, to an unusual extent, 'cherry pick' outside the Po Valley Basin region.
The objective has been to identify both old discoveries of oil and gas considered ripe for re-appraisal and highly prospective mainly offshore areas to which we will be the first group to deploy new technologies now available after a hiatus of exploration activity during the times of low oil prices.
The interesting and exciting exceptions are in the southern Adriatic and Ionian Sea where we will be progressing one gas and two oil discoveries made during those times of low oil prices and where the licences subsequently expired or were relinquished. Here we believe that we may benefit from the fundamental change in economics. The Company will comment further when these licences are formally granted.
Onshore ATI believes it will additionally benefit from the deregulation of the Italian gas and electricity markets.'
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