Dubai — Eni won an onshore block in the UAE emirate of Ras Al Khaimah that is geologically similar to a major gas field discovery it co-owns in neighboring Sharjah, the Italian energy group said in an April 19 statement.
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Eni signed an exploration and production sharing agreement for Block 7, which spans an area of 430 sq km in Ras Al Khaimah, it said. The company will act as operator of the block with 90% participating interest and RAK Gas holding the remainder.
"The presence of the existing gas processing facilities in the emirate [of Ras Al Khaimah] would also allow a rapid development of any discoveries," the statement said.
Eni already operates in Ras Al Khaimah -- one of seven emirates that make up the UAE federation -- in Offshore Block A where "preparations for drilling operations have started," it added.
Eni holds more than 26,000 sq km gross of exploration acreage in the UAE, representing eight exploration blocks onshore and in shallow waters in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah.
Eni and Sharjah National Oil Corp. (SNOC) produced earlier this year first gas from the Mahani field in Sharjah, one year after they announced the first onshore discovery for 37 years in the country's third largest emirate.
The well tested last year at flow rates of up to 50 MMcf/d alongside production of associated condensate, the companies said in January 2020.
SNOC, the operator of Block B, and Eni each hold a 50% stake in Mahani field as part of the Block B concession agreement signed in 2019 after the conclusion of Sharjah's first international license round. The two companies are also partners in the onshore concession areas A and C, where exploration is actively in progress, with Eni the operator.
The UAE as a whole is boosting its gas production to reach self-sufficiency and made another major discovery in 2020 besides Mahani in Sharjah.
Abu Dhabi National Oil Co, the UAE 's biggest energy company, and gas supplier Dubai Supply Authority will develop a new shallow gas reservoir with estimated in-place gas resources of 80 Tcf that was discovered along the Dubai-Abu Dhabi border in 2020.
Eni, which produced 3 Bcf of gas and 18 million barrels of oil and condensate in 2019 from its UAE operations, also owns 20% of ADNOC Refining, a joint venture with ADNOC and Austria's OMV. It also has a 20% stake in ADNOC Global Trading, a joint venture with ADNOC and OMV focused on refined products that started operations in December.