Irish-owned company United Oil gets Italian boost

Geoff Percival

A development plan for the highly rated Podere Gallina gas exploration licence in northern Italy, 20% of which is owned by Irish company United Oil and Gas, has been submitted to the Italian authorities.

The licence is 80% owned and operated by Australian explorer Po Valley Energy.

The first well at the onshore Selva gas field was successfully drilled late last year.

Po Valley and United Oil aim to establish a €2.4m fully-automated gas plant at the Podere Maiar well site and run a 1km-long pipeline to connect with the nearby Italian national grid connection.

The two will also look at undertaking further seismic surveying activity to gauge more drilling prospects in the area.

“[This] moves us along the path to production at this discovery.

“It also gives proof of the additional prospectivity that this licence offers.

“We will be working with the operator to design a programme of seismic activity for later this year and early 2019, with the goal of identifying additional drilling targets,” said United Oil chief executive Brian Larkin.

United Oil and Gas, operated by Mr Larkin and fellow former Tullow Oil executive Jonathan Leather, has been steadily building up an international asset base since floating on the London Stock Exchange last year through its reverse takeover of Senterra Energy.

It now has interests in the UK, Italy, and offshore Jamaica and a long-term plan to build a presence in Europe, Africa, and Latin America.

It has also not ruled out a long-term look at licence opportunities offshore Ireland.

“We are continuing to grow and develop our asset base,” said Mr Larkin.

Last week United was provisionally awarded two licensing blocks in the North Sea, becoming the first Irish exploration company in a decade to collect in a UK licensing round, and bringing its number of UK blocks to three.

Its latest includes the Crown oil discovery, which is estimated to contain up to 16 million barrels of oil.

United’s shares closed down by just over 1% yesterday, despite initially rising by more than 2% on the back of the latest Italian announcement.

Po Valley Energy’s shares showed no movement.

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