Progress for Petroceltic as it secures licences for drilling off Italian coast

Irish exploration company Petroceltic has been awarded two licences off the coast of Italy.

The award — via the Dublin company’s local subsidiary, Petroceltic Italia SrL — further hints at the Italian government relaxing legislation and lifting its existing offshore drilling restrictions. These have hampered progress for companies such as Petroceltic, which have significant assets there.

“The award of the two licences in the central Adriatic suggests that the Italian authorities are keen to get back to business-as-usual in the Italian offshore. This points the way to a reactivated Italian portfolio for Petroceltic,” according to Caren Crowley of Davy Stockbrokers.

Petroceltic — which has a presence in Algeria, Kurdistan, and Italy — has applied for three more exploration permits off the Italian coast. These would be next to the two awarded licences, which are based in the Adriatic Sea and run for six years.

Petroceltic CEO Brian O’Cathain said management was “delighted” with the latest award, which he said was “indicative of a desire to reactivate the offshore Italian exploration and production industry by the government of Italy, for the benefit of the national and regional communities and economies, in line with the recently announced review of the national energy strategy”.

Elsewhere, San Leon Energy has entered a joint-venture with the Polish arm of British oil and gas explorer Celtique Energie to develop the existing assets of the UK company in Poland. San Leon — headed by ex-Smart Telecom director Oisin Fanning — has assets spread across Ireland, mainland Europe, North America, and northern Africa. Mr Fanning said the agreement would expose San Leon to additional high-quality exploration acreage in Poland and would solidify the company’s commitment to developing “significant” oil and gas reserves in Poland in the near-term.

Meanwhile, John Teeling-chaired/AIM-listed zinc explorer Connemara Mining is seeking a two-year extension of its four-licence block in Thurles.

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