Eni to begin 3D seismic of Block 52

Muscat, Dec 8 – Italian energy giant Eni says it plans to shortly begin shooting 3D seismic across its mammoth offshore concession off Oman’s southern and southeastern coast.
The move, which will entail the deployment of a specialised seismic ship, marks a key milestone in Eni’s efforts to explore and unlock potential hydrocarbon resources in Block 52 — the Sultanate’s largest exploration block
Eni’s local subsidiary Eni Oman BV is the operator of Block 52 — a massive 90,790 sq kilometre concession — with a 55 per cent stake. Qatar Petroleum holds a 30 per cent interest, while Oman Oil Company Exploration & Production (OOCEP) — the upstream investment arm of Oman Oil Company — owns the balance per cent.
“We will start shooting 3D seismic very soon,” said Lorenzo Casati (pictured), Managing Director — Eni Oman BV. “This is a very challenging area, despite our experience in this region; we started our activities in this Block in January (this year). Indeed, we are a pure start-up in Oman with offshore Block 52.”
Casati made the announcement while taking part in a panel discussion of CEOs of top Oil & Gas operators in the Sultanate. The event was organised as part of concluding events marking the end of the 3-day OPAL Oil & Gas Conference 2018, which took place at the Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre last week.
Although largely unexplored, the roughly sprawling concession is believed to be prospective for hydrocarbon resources based on evidence of the presence of petroleum systems in the block. Water depths range from 10 metres near the coast to 3,000 metres at the deep end, underscoring the challenges for Eni in the exploration and production, if any, of subsea resources.
Risk is an integral part of Eni’s forte as a major player in offshore and deepwater exploration and production, particularly in the Middle East, according to Casati. “Risk is the key element of exploration first and foremost; you need to take risk, but just as importantly, you need to manage that risk as well. At Eni, we have developed certain in-house tools and applications to analyse the risks, but (adverse) outcomes can always be lurking behind the door, which we hope will not be the case in Oman.”
Ahead of the commencement of seismic activities, Eni Oman has assembled a strong local team numbering around 15-16 staff members, around half of them Omani nationals, said Casati.
However, to meet the huge challenges associated with Block 52, Eni is also looking to develop the competencies of both Omani and expatriate staff, he said. “Technological innovation, as well as digital transformation, are key; and this involves not only the use of advanced computers, but also changing mindsets while prioritising safety in the field,” he added.
Eni, the Managing Director said, was looking to replicate its accomplishments in deepwater exploration elsewhere in the Middle East — success that has earned it the accolade of ‘World’s Best Exploration Company’ for four years in a row. He attributed this recognition to two key strengths: Eni’s competency in core areas like exploration, as well as its success in bringing projects speedily to market.