Saturday 16 December 2017

Petroceltic shares up 7pc on Italian move

Thomas Mollloy

SHARES in Petroceltic rose as much as 7pc yesterday after the Irish explorer revealed that Italian oil giant ENI is taking control of Petroceltic's Carisio permit in Italy's Po Valley where an exploration well is being planned for next year.

The announcement was a reminder of the company's often ignored but potentially lucrative interest in oil fields in Italy's beautiful Po Valley, Davy Stockbroker's analyst Caren Crowley said.

The Dublin- and London-listed explorer is allowing ENI to assume the operatorship of their equitable joint venture -- each firm has a 47.5pc stake in the permit -- before the exploration work gets underway.

As part of the agreement, Petroceltic will receive seismic data from ENI.

The group will give Petroceltic 550km of existing seismic data on the nearby Ronsecco permit -- which is close another ENI oil field.

"These developments in the Carisio and Ronsecco permits represent a significant step forward in Petroceltic's efforts to develop a portfolio of material oil prospects in Italy," Petroceltic chief executive Brian O'Cathain said. The move could create additional options for funding future programmes, he added.

Ms Crowley added that the problems in Libya may be good for Petroceltic, which has an oil field off the Italian coast but no permission to drill there because of environmental concerns.

"We believe Italy's reliance on Libya as a source of hydrocarbons could influence the debate on drilling in near-shore Italian seas in favour of Petroceltic and other offshore operators," Ms Crowley said. Italy is the third-largest producer of oil and the fifth largest of gas in Western Europe.

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