4 April 2013
Petroceltic International plc
Italian Operational Update
Petroceltic International plc ("Petroceltic" or "the Company"), the upstream oil & gas exploration company focused on North Africa, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea regions, is pleased to announce an update on its activities in Italy.
Central Adriatic - New permit award
Petroceltic's wholly owned subsidiary, Petroceltic Italia Srl, has been awarded the exploration permit "B.R272.EL" in the Central Adriatic offshore Italy (formerly application block d.507). The award of the B.R272.EL permit is a significant step forward in the development of the Company's Central Adriatic portfolio. The block covers 474 km2 and lies some 15km from the Elsa discovery and the producing Rospo Mare Field. It contains the high-potential "Turchese" prospect located along the North Eastern extension of the Elsa trend.
The work programme for the initial six year phase of the exploration permit includes a 3D seismic acquisition program, which the Company is aiming to extend over the adjacent B.R270.EL permit, to high-grade prospects for possible future exploration drilling. Seismic acquisition will involve industry "best practice" techniques to limit impact to marine mammal populations, including the use of qualified, independent marine mammal observers, exclusion zones and "soft startup" procedures.
Following local legal appeals, the Lazio Administrative Court has annulled the environmental clearance for the offshore Adriatic permit B.R271.EL on procedural grounds. In light of this decision, the Company is currently reviewing options on how to proceed.
The Central Adriatic permits have been awarded 100% to Petroceltic; however, as part of a farm-in agreement signed with Orca Exploration Group Limited ("Orca") in June 2010, Orca will have an option to earn a 15% interest in these permits following the drilling of the Elsa 2 well, subject to the usual regulatory approvals.
Western Po Valley - Carpignano Sesia-1 well update
The Company has been advised that Eni Spa ("Eni"), as operator of the Carisio permit (Eni 47.5% Operator, Petroceltic 47.5%, Condotte 5%) in the Western Po Valley, has lodged an application with the Piedmont Region requesting a further extension of the permitting process until 30 June 2013. This extension will allow Eni to present a revised well location which takes into consideration local concerns. Petroceltic is supporting Eni's ongoing engagement with local and national stakeholders to ensure a successful outcome to this permitting process that will facilitate the drilling of this exciting oil prospect.
Brian O'Cathain, Petroceltic's Chief Executive, commented:
"Permit B.R.272.EL brings significant additional potential to our Adriatic portfolio directly adjoining and on trend with the Elsa oil discovery. We look forward to working with the relevant Ministries to enable the commencement of seismic operations in this highly prospective region. Petroceltic is fully committed to operating in an environmentally sensitive manner in all its operations and will continue to work with all partners and stakeholders to support the National Energy Strategy's objective of doubling Italian oil and gas production by 2020."
For further information, please contact:
Brian O'Cathain/Tom Hickey, Petroceltic International Tel: +353 (1) 421 8300
Philip Dennis/Rollo Crichton-Stuart,
Pelham Bell Pottinger Tel: +44 (20) 7861 3919
Joe Murray/Joe Heron, Murray Consultants Tel: +353 (1) 498 0300
John Frain, Davy Tel: +353 (1) 679 6363
Dr. Dermot Corcoran, Head of Exploration, Petroceltic International plc, is the qualified person who has reviewed and approved the technical information contained in this announcement. Dr. Corcoran has a B.Sc in Geology, a M.Sc. in Geophysics, and a Masters degree in Business Administration, all from the National University of Ireland, Galway. He also holds a Ph.D in Geology from Trinity College, Dublin. Dr. Corcoran has over 20 years experience in oil & gas exploration and production, and has previously worked at ExxonMobil, the Petrofina Group, and Statoil.
Notes to Editors:
Petroceltic International plc is a leading Upstream Oil and Gas Exploration and Production Company, focused on North Africa, Mediterranean and Black Sea Regions, and listed on the London Stock Exchange's AIM Market and the Irish Stock Exchange's ESM Market. The Company has production, exploration and development assets in Algeria, Bulgaria, Egypt, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Italy and Romania.
A revised map of the Company's offshore Italian licence position is available at www.petroceltic.ie