LONDON – Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development has approved an increase in the work program for two permits in the Adriatic Sea operated by Northern Petroleum (London:NOP).
The Ministry originally authorized acquisition of 300 km (186 mi) of 2D seismic on the F.R39.NP and F.R40.NP concessions, but up to 600 sq km (231 sq mi) of 3D seismic can now also be acquired on each permit.
Northern has contracted CGGVeritas for a 2D survey, the first operation under the enhanced work program. The survey is designed to help de-risk several exploration prospects within the two permits, and to compliment planned 3D seismic acquisition focused on the Rovesti and Giove oil discoveries. Assuming approvals, the 2D activity will start in late summer or early this fall.
A 3D seismic survey is also scheduled, pending approvals, for 4Q 2011 to cover Rovesti and Giove, and to de-risk one significant prospect within the two permits. This survey, and processing of the data, will be the first activity funded entirely by Azimuth under the terms of an agreement first announced in March.
Blackwatch Petroleum Services previously assessed 2P oil reserves at Giove and Rovesti oil at 53.2 MMbbl. However, Northern sees potential in the two permits for oil prospects with a mean of over 3 Bbbl of oil in place and gas prospects with a mean of over 2 tcf in place.
Aaron D'Este, CEO of Azimuth, said: "Receiving Ministry approval for the enhanced work program is excellent news. We already know that there is an active petroleum system in the Adriatic basin and 3D seismic is the natural next step to highlight commercial accumulations. Working closely with our partner, we will complete the planned surveys as quickly and safely as possible, and then move on to defining drillable targets early in the New Year."
Derek Musgrove, managing director of Northern, added: "I further note the recent offshore permit award announced by ADX Energy, which after a 12- month hiatus I am hopeful is a positive sign of the start of the award of new offshore permits to both Northern and other applicants."