Italy’s Eni said it signed onshore oil and gas exploration concessions in Sharjah, UAE and an offshore block in Bahrain.
Sharjah’s sovereign ruler His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi signed an agreement with Eni’s chief executive officer, Claudio Descalzi for areas A, B & C onshore exploration concession.
The agreement comes after the first International Competitive Exploration Licensing Round launched by Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC) in 2018 to explore and develop new hydrocarbon resources through the establishment of new partnerships.
Concession Area A and C respectively cover an area of 437 km2 and 1,184 km2. Eni will act as operator with 75 per cent participating interest with SNOC as partner with the remaining stake. Concession Area B covers an area of 264 km2. SNOC will act as an operator with half of the participating interest, while Eni will hold the other half of the stake.
Eni’s CEO, Claudio Descalzi, said: “These agreements mark for Eni another major step towards an organic growth in the UAE. Today's awards are a further confirmation of our willingness to root our presence in the Middle East by creating long-term strategic partnerships.”
Eni also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Oil and Gas Authority of Bahrain (NOGA) to pursue petroleum exploration of Block 1, an offshore area of over 2,800 km2 still largely unexplored, located in the northern territorial waters of the Kingdom of Bahrain with water depth ranging from 10m up to 70m.
The signing took place between H.E. Sh. Mohamed Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Oil of Bahrain and Chairman of the board of directors in NOGA, and Eni’s Descalzi.
H.E. Sh. Mohamed Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa said: “This strategic partnership with Eni is a major step towards utilising the Kingdom’s offshore natural resources. With this signing, we aim to hold various discussions to review all relevant aspects of the technical and commercial terms of the potential exploration and development within a reduced timeframe”.
Descalzi said: “This MoU and the exploration in Block 1 will allow Eni to start cooperating and investing in a country that was one of the first in the Gulf to produce oil and which now aims at unveiling its offshore potential.”
He said entering in Bahrain will enable Eni to expand its presence in a key region of the Middle East, in line with the company’s strategy aimed at diversifying its exploration portfolio across basins with liquid hydrocarbon potential while keeping high quality stakes throughout the exploration phase”.
Eni presence in the Middle East has grown significantly in the last year, with the beginning of the exploration activities in Oman and agreements of major offshore concession agreements with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). In the Middle East, Eni is also present in Lebanon and Iraq.