Eni’s mega-find could aid Petroceltic’s Egypt plans

Under-fire Irish exploration firm, Petroceltic is being viewed as one of the potential long-term beneficiaries of Italian energy group, Eni’s apparent super-find off the coast of Egypt.

The Italian company said, on Sunday evening, that it had found one of the world’s largest natural gas fields off the coast of the northern African countr, stretching for 100sq km and, potentially, holding as much as 30 trillion cubic feet of gas, or 5.5bn barrels of oil equivalent (boepd).

Dublin-based Petroceltic, which is largely active in Algeria, was awarded a 50% interest in the North Port Fouad block a year ago, which is located approximately 5km west of Eni’s Zohr field.

While the Italian company’s find is unlikely to have any immediate knock-on effect to Petroceltic’s share price (although, the stock did rise nearly 14% yesterday), which has suffered heavily in recent months, it is expected to enhance interest if and when the Irish company comes to try to farm-out a portion of its Egyptian assets.

“While any drilling activity is unlikely to occur until 2018/2019, the Zohr outcome clearly provides a positive backdrop and an enticement should Petroceltic seek to farm-down,” Gerry Hennigan, exploration and mining analyst with Goodbody Stockbrokers, said yesterday.

“3D seismic [on Petroceltic’s Egyptian block] tendering is scheduled to commence in 2015, post which a decision will be made with respect to any exploration drilling,” Mr Hennigan added.

Eni said the Zohr field could become one of the world’s “largest natural gas finds”, helping to meet Egypt’s gas needs for decades to come.


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