Eni has signed two concession agreements to acquire a 70% stake in the Offshore Block 1 and 2 exploration areas in Abu Dhabi for 35 years.

The company will have the Thai PTT Exploration and Production Company (PTTEP) as its partner with a 30% stake.

Located in the north-west of Abu Dhabi Emirate, the two blocks are the first to be awarded among those offered for commercial bidding by the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) last year.

Following a commercial discovery, ADNOC has an option to hold a 60% stake.

Eni will operate the concessions and invest more than AED844m ($230m) with PTTEP for oil and gas exploration.

The company will also appraise the existing discoveries in the two blocks, which together cover an area of 8,000km².

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“This award represents a new important step towards Eni’s expansion in one of the world’s leading regions for the oil and gas industry.”

The agreement’s exploration phase has a maximum period of nine years and an overall concession term will extend to 35 years for development and production phases, upon successful exploration.

ADNOC Group CEO Claudio Descalzi said: “This award represents a new important step towards Eni’s expansion in one of the world’s leading regions for the oil and gas industry, not only by participating in producing fields but also by exploring new blocks.

“In particular, Offshore Blocks 1 and 2 are extremely important thanks to the virtuous synergies they will have with Ghasha offshore concession.

“This further reinforces the partnership between Eni and ADNOC and Eni will make available its exploration expertise and leading-edge technology to untap additional resources in the offshore of Abu Dhabi.”

Under the exploration phase, Eni and PTTEP will contribute financially and technically to ADNOC’s continuous 3D onshore and offshore seismic survey.

In a separate development, Eni has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Oil and Gas Authority of the Kingdom of Bahrain (NOGA) to pursue petroleum exploration of Block 1.

The offshore block is located in the northern territorial waters of the Kingdom of Bahrain with water depth ranging from 10m up to 70m. It covers an area of more than 2,800km² and is still largely unexplored.