Italian regulators will allow London-based explorer Northern Petroleum to conduct 3D seismic data studies at two of its wholly-owned permit areas in the southern Adriatic Sea.
The approval to conduct new seismic in permits F.R39.NP and F.R40.NP was handed down by the Ministries of the Environment and National Heritage. Northern Petroleum will now pursue a partner to farm into the permit areas prior to conducting seismic studies.
In a statement, Northern Petroleum called the approvals “key” to continuing its exploration and appraisal program in the southern Adriatic. “The Italian portfolio continues to be a core area for Northern and the possibility of value being realized over the short and medium term from these assets has significantly improved,” says Keith Bush, Northern Petroleum’s CEO.
The F.R39.NP and F.R40.NP permit areas are home to the Cygnus and Giove discoveries, respectively.
Originally drilled in 1998 by Enterprise Oil, Giove identified a 94m gross oil column in Oligocene reef carbonates, Northern says. It lies in 600m water, 20km off the Italian coast, and 12km from the Eni-operated Aquila oil discovery. According to a subsurface evaluation of the Giove discovery, completed by ERC Equipoise (ERCE) in 2014, cited by Northern Petroleum, Giove has an expected 2C recoverable resource of 26 MMbbl.
The Cygnus prospect in the F.R39.NP permit is up-dip of the Aquila discovery. Data from the Aquila development wells and existing 2D seismic data indicates that Cygnus may share an oil water contact with Aquila. The Cygnus prospect is considered to have a stratigraphic trapping mechanism, with its reservoir comprising resedimented carbonates derived from the adjacent Apulian platform. The distal and basin equivalent of these sequences are productive in Aquila. A 2013 ERCE evaluation cited by Northern Petroleum assigned the Cygnus prospect, in the high case, a prospective resource of 978 MMbbl, with 790 MMbbl of recoverable oil within the F.R39.NP permit.
Northern Petroluem says the acquisition of 3D seismic data over both the Giove discovery and the Cygnus prospect will help delineate Cygnus and will be used to more clearly define the optimum locations for the Giove appraisal well and the Cygnus exploration well.
Additionally, Northern Petroleum received approval for d61F.R-NP and d66F.R-NP, which will form permits contiguous with its existing permits in the southern Adriatic. The final requirement for these applications to become exploration permits is decree by the Ministry of Economic Development, the company says.
Map: Northern Petroleum