Petroceltic International's wholly owned subsidiary Petroceltic Italia has received two exploration licences in the central Adriatic Sea, offshore Italy.
Licence B.R 270 covers an area of 144.5 square kilometres and B.R 271 covers an area of 327.1 square kilometres. Both licences will run for six years, from the date of the award.
Brian O'Cathain, Petroceltic chief executive, said the award is indicative of the government's desire to re-activate offshore Italian exploration and production in line with the recently announced review of the national energy strategy by Italy's Corrado Passera.
"Petroceltic is committed in all of its operations to act responsibly and with due care to the environment and local stakeholders, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Italian authorities to explore these prospective licences," said O'Cathain.
The Ministry of Economic Development is currently considering three other adjacent exploration permits, located in water depths of 30 to 150m, which were submitted by Petroceltic for the area.
Petroceltic intends to obtain additional geophysical data to obtain high-grade prospects for future exploration drilling programmes.