One is for a proposed 3D seismic acquisition program over the Giove oil discovery and Cygnus exploration prospect, while the other five are for exploration permit application areas.
The approvals have allowed the company to continue planning the seismic program and to work with the Ministry of Economic Development to convert the applications into permits.
This could become one of the largest contiguous areas of exploration and appraisal acreage in the Adriatic, the company claims.
However, seismic acquisition remains subject to financing, probably via a farm-out of the permit, and to a positive outcome to local appeals and operational approvals.
In addition, Northern has drafted an appraisal well EIA proposal for Giove, which it plans to submit this year. It aims to drill the well 12-18 months following the submission, again subject to securing financing and approvals.
Last December Italy’s government passed a law restricting offshore oil and gas activities within the 12-nautical mile limit off the country’s coasts.
Most of Northern’s offshore acreage is unaffected by this law change except for one application (d59.FR-NP), which is within the 12-mi limit in the Ionian Sea, and three applications (d29.GR-NP, d30.GR-NP and d61.FR-NP), partly within the 12-mi limit.
These received full and partial rejections early in 2016.
Offshore French Guiana, there was little activity last year on an exploration permit in which Northern is a minority partner, and the permit is due to expire in mid-2016.
The Tullow-led joint venture is considering options.
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