Northern Petroleum has secured approval from the Italian Ministries of the Environment and National Heritage to conduct an environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the acquisition of 3D seismic data in offshore Italy.

Under the programme, the company will acquire seismic data across Giove undeveloped oil discovery and the Cygnus exploration well in the southern Adriatic.

Italian regulators have also approved EIAs for two of Northern Petroleum’s exploration permit applications.

"The company has been working with the appropriate authorities in Italy to progress its permits and applications, and has refrained from discussing the opportunities until tangible progress has been made."

Northern Petroleum CEO Keith Bush said: "The company has been working with the appropriate authorities in Italy to progress its permits and applications, and has refrained from discussing the opportunities until tangible progress has been made.

"This has now happened, both with the approval of these EIAs and also the recent farm out of the Cascina Alberto permit to Shell."

Following approval, the company will acquire 3D seismic data within the wholly owned F.R39.NP and F.R40.NP permits, which lie within a proven hydrocarbon province in the southern Adriatic.

The F.R40.NP permit contains the Giove oil discovery located in 600m of water, 20km off the Italian coast and 12km from Aquila.

Located next to F.R40.NP, the F.R39.NP permit contains the Cygnus prospect that is expected to contain a stratigraphic trapping mechanism.

According to the company, the acquisition of 3D seismic data over the Giove discovery and the Cygnus prospect will help delineate Cygnus.

The acquisition will also be used to define the optimum locations for the Giove and the Cygnus wells.

Once the permitting process is complete, the initial stage of the exploration programme to acquire 2D seismic will take place across both the permits.