Italian company wins Sharjah upstream licensing round

14 January 2019
Energy major wins operating stakes in all three concession areas offered by emirate in its licensing round

State-owned Sharjah National Oil Company (SNOC) has awarded operating stakes to Italian energy major Eni in all three concession areas offered by the emirate in its licensing round.

Eni won 75 per cent, 50 per cent and 75 per cent stakes in Areas A, B and C, respectively, with SNOC holding the remaining stakes in those concessions, making Eni the sole foreign firm Sharjah has partnered with for its upstream exploration drive.

Long-term agreements have been signed by SNOC, on behalf of Sharjah’s government, and Eni. The agreements have a duration of 30 years, with 10-year extension options.

Concession areas A, B and C span 437 square kilometres, 264 sq km and 1,184 sq km, respectively.

Sharjah in June last year offered the three concession areas in its upstream licensing round, becoming the third emirate in the UAE, after Ras al-Khaimah and Abu Dhabi, to initiate an oil and gas exploration campaign.

By awarding operating stakes in all three areas to Eni, SNOC has also become the first of the three UAE national oil companies to complete its licensing round exercise.

When SNOC launched its licensing round last year, it said all suitable field discoveries could be tied-in to its existing infrastructure in the acreage, gas-condensate processing plant and export facilities, allowing foreign operators to generate early cash flow at lower capital expenditure

SNOC has offered to purchase the resulting hydrocarbons.

Concession areas A, B and C are located in the producing Thrust Zone play trend, including an unappraised deeper gas discovery below the Sajaa gas condensate field in Area A.

SNOC, as the main operator of Area B, has drilled an exploratory well to gauge the size and nature of potential reserves contained in the acreage.

The massive concession wins in Sharjah will help Eni fortify its position in the UAE.

The Italian major has also secured exploratory stakes in the two offshore blocks offered in Abu Dhabi’s licensing round, along with Thailand’s PTTEP.

Prior to that, in November, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) awarded Eni a 25 per cent share in its Ghasha sour gas concession.

Eni made a strong start to its operations in the UAE by obtaining a 10 per cent stake in the Umm Shaif and Nasr fields, and a 5 per cent stake in the Lower Zakum offshore concessions from Adnoc in March 2018.

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