Po Valley Lands First Offshore O&G License in Adriatic Sea

Emerging Australian gas producer, Po Valley Energy, has been awarded its first offshore oil and gas license in one of the key petroleum provinces servicing Europe’s energy demands.

In a major expansion from its current onshore-based Italian gas portfolio, Po Valley has won a competitive preliminary award by Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development for a 526 km2 exploration license AR168PY (Azzurra) in the Adriatic Sea off Italy’s east coast.

The close-to-shore and previously drilled acreage is southeast of and on the same trend as Po Valley's gas fields stretching between Milan, Modena and Bologna. It is from this area that the Company’s first output is expected by early next year from production plant and grid connection infrastructure currently under construction.

"The Adriatic Sea is a natural geological extension of out existing onshore oil and gas assets," Po Valley Energy’s CEO, Michael Masterman, said. "This are remains highly productive, producing over 350 million cubic feet per day and the largest producer, Italian energy giant, ENI, now produces in excess of five times more gas from its offshore Adriatic fields than its onshore Po Valley fields."

Prior to the industry deregulation of recent times, the province was the exclusive domain of ENI. "Under this award, the offshore block is a major step-up for Po Valley’s gas exploration and production potential, as well as confirmation of the high regard in which the Company is increasingly being held in Italy’s fast-growing natural gas sector," said Masterman.

The shallow offshore license, Azzurra, lies in 30 meters of water, adjacent to the large Agostino and Porto Garibaldi gas fields. The area has extensive 3D seismic coverage. ENI successfully drilled and tested positive gas flows in separate wells, Azzurra-1, Ginevra-1dir, Irma-1 and Carola-1.

"While historic low energy prices meant ENI did not develop the fields in the early 1990s, we are confident that subject to successful appraisal, a number of these prospects could be expected to become significant commercial gas developments. The former ENI wells are also only 10-20 kilometers from existing pipeline connection points and with relatively short drilling times and significant production infrastructure, any new development wells could be brought onstream in short time frames," said Masterman.