Northern Launches 3D Seismic in West Sicily Thrust Belt

Northern has commenced 3D seismic operations in the West Sicily thrust belt that will cover four licenses -- G.R17.NP, G.R20.NP, G.R21.NP and G.R22.NP. A total of up to 1520 km² of 3D seismic data will be acquired in these licenses with the survey expected to last approximately two months.

The seismic acquisition is part of the work program being funded by Shell Italia E&P S.p.A. (Shell) as part of the farm-in arrangement announced in December 2008. The aim of the survey is to obtain a better quality, and more complete, definition of the encouraging structures identified by the two previous 2D seismic campaigns, and firm up prospects for drilling.

The seismic acquisition has been contracted to Petroleum Geo-Services Asia Pacific-Pte Limited and the 3D data is being acquired using the vessel 'M/V Atlantic Explorer' utilising GeoStreamer technology to enhance resolution. Under the terms of the farm-out agreement Shell holds 55% in G.R17.NP, and 70% in G.R20.NP, G.R21.NP and G.R22.NP.

"The West Sicily Thrust Belt is part of the major thrust system incorporating large oil fields in the Southern Apennines and continues into Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco. Northern considers it prospective for both oil and gas. This survey will be processed and interpretation undertaken to enable prospects to be defined for a drilling decision later this year," commented Derek Musgrove, Managing Director, Northern Petroleum.