Eni to be­gin 3D seis­mic of Block 52

Oman Daily Observer - - INSIDEOMAN - CON­RAD PRABHU MUS­CAT, DEC 8

PROMIS­ING PO­TEN­TIAL: Al­though largely un­ex­plored, the roughly sprawl­ing con­ces­sion is be­lieved to be prospec­tive for hy­dro­car­bon re­sources based on ev­i­dence of the pres­ence of petroleum sys­tems in the block

Ital­ian en­ergy gi­ant Eni says it plans to shortly be­gin shoot­ing 3D seis­mic across its mam­moth off­shore con­ces­sion off Oman’s south­ern and south­east­ern coast.

The move, which will en­tail the de­ploy­ment of a spe­cialised seis­mic ship, marks a key mile­stone in Eni’s ef­forts to ex­plore and un­lock po­ten­tial hy­dro­car­bon re­sources in Block 52 — the Sul­tanate’s largest ex­plo­ration block

Eni’s lo­cal sub­sidiary Eni Oman BV is the op­er­a­tor of Block 52 — a mas­sive 90,790 sq kilo­me­tre con­ces­sion — with a 55 per cent stake. Qatar Petroleum holds a 30 per cent in­ter­est, while Oman Oil Com­pany Ex­plo­ration & Pro­duc­tion (OOCEP) — the up­stream in­vest­ment arm of Oman Oil Com­pany — owns the bal­ance per cent.

“We will start shoot­ing 3D seis­mic very soon,” said Lorenzo Casati (pic­tured), Manag­ing Direc­tor — Eni Oman BV. “This is a very chal­leng­ing area, de­spite our ex­pe­ri­ence in this re­gion; we started our ac­tiv­i­ties in this Block in Jan­uary (this year). In­deed, we are a pure start-up in Oman with off­shore Block 52.”

Casati made the an­nounce­ment while tak­ing part in a panel dis­cus­sion of CEOS of top Oil & Gas op­er­a­tors in the Sul­tanate. The event was or­gan­ised as part of con­clud­ing events mark­ing the end of the 3-day OPAL Oil & Gas Con­fer­ence 2018, which took place at the Oman Con­ven­tion & Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre last week.

Al­though largely un­ex­plored, the roughly sprawl­ing con­ces­sion is be­lieved to be prospec­tive for hy­dro­car­bon re­sources based on ev­i­dence of the pres­ence of petroleum sys­tems in the block. Wa­ter depths range from 10 me­tres near the coast to 3,000 me­tres at the deep end, un­der­scor­ing the chal­lenges for Eni in the ex­plo­ration and pro­duc­tion, if any, of sub­sea re­sources.

Risk is an in­te­gral part of Eni’s forte as a ma­jor player in off­shore and deep­wa­ter ex­plo­ration and pro­duc­tion, par­tic­u­larly in the Mid­dle East, ac­cord­ing to Casati. “Risk is the key el­e­ment of ex­plo­ration first and fore­most; you need to take risk, but just as im­por­tantly, you need to man­age that risk as well. At Eni, we have de­vel­oped cer­tain in-house tools and ap­pli­ca­tions to an­a­lyse the risks, but (ad­verse) out­comes can al­ways be lurk­ing be­hind the door, which we hope will not be the case in Oman.”

Ahead of the com­mence­ment of seis­mic ac­tiv­i­ties, Eni Oman has as­sem­bled a strong lo­cal team num­ber­ing around 15-16 staff members, around half of them Omani na­tion­als, said Casati.

How­ever, to meet the huge chal­lenges as­so­ci­ated with Block 52, Eni is also look­ing to de­velop the com­pe­ten­cies of both Omani and ex­pa­tri­ate staff, he said. “Tech­no­log­i­cal in­no­va­tion, as well as dig­i­tal trans­for­ma­tion, are key; and this in­volves not only the use of ad­vanced com­put­ers, but also chang­ing mind­sets while pri­ori­tis­ing safety in the field,” he added.

Eni, the Manag­ing Direc­tor said, was look­ing to repli­cate its ac­com­plish­ments in deep­wa­ter ex­plo­ration else­where in the Mid­dle East — suc­cess that has earned it the ac­co­lade of ‘World’s Best Ex­plo­ration Com­pany’ for four years in a row. He at­trib­uted this recog­ni­tion to two key strengths: Eni’s com­pe­tency in core ar­eas like ex­plo­ration, as well as its suc­cess in bring­ing projects speed­ily to mar­ket.

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