Eni will take over development of First Calgary’s gas prospects including its 75 per cent share in the gas-rich Menzel Ledjet Est discovery, in the east of block 405b in the Berkine basin.

Eni estimates the acquisition will increase its reserves by approximately 190 million barrels of oil within its Algerian asset portfolio on a proven plus probable reserves basis.

Eni’s share of production is expected to level out at the equivalent of 30,000-barrels-a-day (b/d) by 2012. It expects to close the purchase of First Calgary by the end of 2008.

The Italian oil major currently produces 88,000 b/d from exploration and production blocks in the Bir Rebaa area in the South-Eastern desert.

In 2007, Algeria’s oil and gas regulator Alnaft approved First Calgary’s $1.3bn plans to develop the Berkine discovery (MEED 2:3:07).

The field has proven reserves of 1.1 trillion cubic feet of gas and probable reserves of a further 2.8 trillion cubic feet.