Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi
His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah and ENI’s chief executive, Claudio Descalzi, sign the agreements on Sunday. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Sharjah awarded three onshore blocks to Italian oil major Eni on Sunday, in a ceremony attended by His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah.

Also in attendance was Eni’s chief executive, Claudio Descalzi.

The pair signed an agreement awarding Eni three long-term concessions to explore and develop onshore oil and gas fields, in a 30-year partnership with the Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC).

ENI has an excellent track record in both exploration and development and brings both technical expertise and the ability to move ahead with activities at a fast pace.

- Hatem Al Mousa | Chief Executive of SNOC

The 2018 Exploration Bid Round ceremony saw Eni awarded Areas A, B & C onshore Exploration Concession Agreements. “These agreements mark for Eni another major step towards an organic growth in the UAE,” said Descalzi. “Today’s awards are a further confirmation of our willingness to root our presence in the Middle East by creating long-term strategic partnerships.”

Concession Area A and C cover an area of 437 kilometres squared and 1,184 kilometres squared respectively.

30years

partnership between ENI and SNOC under deal

Eni will act as operator with a 75 per cent participating interest, while SNOC will take a 25 per cent stake. Concession Area B covers an area of 264 kilometres squared, with SNOC acting as operator, holding a 50 per cent participating interest, with Eni holding the other 50 per cent.

There was “considerable interest” in the licensing round, according to a statement from the Sharjah Government Media Bureau.

These agreements are the result of the first International Competitive Exploration Licensing Round launched by the state-owned Sharjah National Oil Corporation (SNOC) in 2018 to explore and develop hydrocarbon resources through the establishment of new partnerships.

1184sq km

is the area covered by Concession C, the largest of three blocks

Shaikh Sultan and Descalzi also discussed a number of energy, oil and natural gas-related issues, as well as future projects aimed at ensuring the sustainability of energy.

“We are delighted to welcome Eni as our partner in Sharjah. Eni has an excellent track record in both exploration and development and brings both technical expertise and the ability to move ahead with activities at a fast pace,” said Hatem Al Mosa, CEO of SNOC. “I would like to thank all the companies who participated in the process. SNOC plans to conduct License Rounds for additional areas in the future,” he added.

Eni’s presence in the Middle East has grown significantly over the past year, with the company beginning its exploration activities in the Oman, and the signature of major offshore concession agreements with Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC).

In the Middle East, Eni is also present in Lebanon and Iraq.

Middle Eastern energy analyst Robin Mills commented on the announcement in a tweet, calling it a “good result for Sharjah to attract the most successful recent IOC [international oil company] explorer.”