PETROCELTIC International has been awarded a new licence in Egypt, adding another project to its enlarged portfolio.
The Dublin-based exploration company said the licence covers two largely unexplored areas covering 1,824 square kilometres in the Sinai Peninsula.
Over the first four years the partners must acquire at least 450 square kilometres of 3D seismic data and drill one exploration well. Petroceltic will explore the site along with Dana Petroleum and Beach Petroleum who also have working interests.
"We believe the combination of Petroceltic, Dana and Beach will bring an outstanding combination of technical and operational skills to the exploration of this under-explored region," Petroceltic chief executive Brian O Cathain said in a statement.
"We have already identified a number of structures which we believe to be potentially prospective for oil and these will be the focus of our work in the first phase of the licence," he added.
Davy analyst Job Langbroek said the new licence demonstrates that the company's activity level is likely to rise following the Melrose merger.
"This news is an incremental positive," Mr Langbroek said in a note to clients. "The company is expanding its portfolio in Egypt where it already has a substantial production profile."
Petroceltic said earlier this week that it plans to drill 10 wells in Egypt, Iraq's Kurdistan, Black Sea, Italy and Bulgaria next year. The company added that it is on target to meet full-year production targets of 28 million barrels following a €210m reverse takeover of British firm Melrose Resources last summer.