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Oman Business News

Italy’s Eni to begin Oman offshore Block 52 drilling in February

Italian energy giant ENI is set to make its offshore debut in the Arabian Gulf region with the drilling of a maiden well next February in Block 52, a sprawling deepwater concession that extends off Oman’s southern and south-eastern seaboard.

ENI Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi made the announcement in an interview to Bloomberg TV on the sidelines of the opening of ADIPEC 2019 in Abu Dhabi earlier this week.

ENI’s local subsidiary ENI Oman BV is the operator of Block 52 — a massive 90,790 square kilometre concession — with a 55 per cent stake. Qatar Petroleum holds a 30 per cent interest, while Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production (OOCEP) — the upstream investment arm of Oman Oil & Orpic Group — owns the balance 15 per cent.

“The first drilling that we are doing in the region will be in Oman in February — it will be the first (deepwater) offshore drilling in Block 52 in Oman; so it’s quite important,” said Descalzi.

The exploration well is planned barely seven months after the completion of the acquisition of seismic, said the official, describing the pace as an “achievement”. As for the nature of the hydrocarbons expected to be unlocked by the drilling programme, he said “it’s likely to be gas-condensate”.

The Block 52 drilling will be followed by drilling activity in Bahrain and then Abu Dhabi, where ENI has upstream assets. “We have a programme (to drill) about 10 wells in the next couple of years, so it’s going to be very intense exploration activities,” said the CEO.

Although largely unexplored, Block 52 is believed to be prospective for hydrocarbon resources based on evidence of the presence of petroleum systems in the block.

Water depths range from 10 metres near the coast to 3,000 metres at the deep end, underscoring the challenges for Eni in the exploration and production, if any, of subsea resources.
  • Oman
  • Eni
  • Oil and Gas
  • Exploration
  • Drilling
  • Block 52
  • Deepwater Concession
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