Northern Petroleum Awarded Six Offshore Italian Licenses

Northern Petroleum's subsidiary, Northern Petroleum (UK) Limited, has been advised of the preliminary award of six offshore Italian licenses, covering 4,415 sq km, of which it is the operator. The licenses confirmed are: d22G.R-.NP, d23G.R-.NP, d24G.R-.NP in the Sicily Channel, d57F.R-.NP and d58F.R-.NP in the Southern Adriatic and d59F.R-.NP Offshore Calabria. Northern will now go ahead to prepare the necessary environmental impact studies on these licenses.

The two offshore Adriatic licenses contain three oil discoveries, Rovesti drilled by Agip in 1978, Medusa drilled by Enterprise Oil in 1996 and Giove drilled by Enterprise Oil in 1998. The Giove-1 well encountered a 64 meter gas column before the well had a gas kick and was abandoned for safety issues. The Giove-2 appraisal well encountered the base of the gas column giving a gross column of 83 meters and then an oil column of 94 meters within Eocene carbonates at a depth of 1038 meters. This well was abandoned before testing because of a seabed gas leak that caused instability of the drilling unit requiring immediate abandonment.

The offshore Calabria license contains three gas discoveries drilled by Agip/Eni; Fiorenza, Fedra and Florida within Pliocene and Miocene sandstones at depths from 700 to 1700 meters. Production rates of 15 mmcfd were obtained in the Fiorenza well drilled in 1982 and the Florida well drilled in 1999 encountered a 119 meter gas column. Additional prospectivity can be recognized on the existing 3D seismic data with significant amplitude anomalies and flat spots indicating the potential presence of gas in other structures.

The three licenses awarded to the west of Sicily complete our licensing of the Apennine-Maghreb thrust belt in Italian waters. This thrust belt is productive in the Southern Apennines with the large fields at Monte Alpi and Tempa Rossa, in Sicily with the Gagliano gas field and more recently in Algeria.

Derek Musgrove, Managing Director of Northern said: 'We are extremely excited by the potential of these additional six Italian licenses and intend to fast track our analysis of the oil and gas discoveries for appraisal drilling. In the offshore of Calabria we believe we have licensed a major gas area in deeper water beyond the large Luna field. Our assessment of the thrust area suggests it to be of very great potential, indeed one of the last areas of Europe in which to find a significant oil province.'