Northern Petroleum Snaps Up Additional Permits in Italian Thrust Belt

Northern has announced the preliminary award of two new offshore permits, d25G.R-.NP and d26G.R-.NP, covering a total 897 km² expanding its position in the Apennine-Maghreb Thrust Belt, which added to the six permits held jointly with Shell Italia E&P S.p.A ('Shell'), total 5,267km². The interests are held through its wholly owned subsidiary Northern Petroleum (UK) Limited ('NPUK') which holds the largest licensed exploration acreage in Italy.

The awards are adjacent to the six permits offshore Sicily held jointly with Shell and also to another Northern preliminary award d21G.R-.NP.

"The preliminary awards are part of the oil producing Apennine-Maghrebian thrust belt extending under Italian waters west of Sicily. The geological elements there offer significant oil and gas potential in this already recognized province, similar to the large Val d'Agri fields in Southern Italy," commented Derek Musgrove Managing Director, Northern Petroleum Plc. "The 'Thrust Belt' is one of four core areas offshore Italy that contain some of the greatest medium and long term growth potential for the Company. We have already mapped several prospects of a billion barrels plus. These applications were a follow up to the results from reprocessing and mapping of our 2006 seismic survey. We, together with Shell, have subsequently moved forward on the six licenses with the recording of a further 2D seismic survey in 2009."

NPUK will now prepare the required environmental reports and provide an update on the two new awards following completion.