Italy’s Eni secures onshore exploration block in Ras Al Khaimah

By Ashika Rajan, Trainee Reporter
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The government of Ras Al Khaimah has awarded an upstream exploration block to Eni RAK, the local subsidiary of Italian energy company Eni.

Eni RAK signed the exploration and development sharing agreement for the 430-square-kilometer Block 7. It is located onshore, next to Sharjah’s Mahani gas field, which is the Emirate’s first major discovery in more than three decades.

With a 90 percent participating interest, Eni RAK is the largest operator, while national oil company RAK Gas manages the remaining 10 percent. In a complex thrust belt geological setting, Block 7 represents an under-explored acreage. It follows the same geographical pattern as the Mahani concession.

The Italian company stated that newly acquired 3D seismic data will allow the joint venture to assess “the geological setting of the area and eventually unlock its hydrocarbon potential.”

The presence of existing gas processing facilities in Ras Al Khaimah will enable any discoveries to be developed “quickly.”

At Khor Khwair, RAK Gas has a 150 million cubic feet processing plant that produces gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and condensate.

Ras Al Khaimah, which is home to several major industrial firms, including the energy-intensive ceramics sector, needs more gas to meet rising commercial demand.

Following the shut-in of a mature field, RAK Gas, the state-owned operator, launched a licensing round in 2018 to tap new fields for gas production.

RAK Gas has been helping the industry since the closure of the Saleh field by arranging to buy gas from the Dolphin project, which supplies two billion cubic feet of gas per day to the UAE through a pipeline from Qatar’s North Dome gas field.

The UAE signed agreements to supply gas to both Ras Al Khaimah and Sharjah in October 2016 with pipeline operator Dolphin Energy and Qatar Petroleum. Eni already has a presence in Ras Al Khaimah via its offshore Block A, where drilling preparations have begun.

The Italian firm has a presence in Abu Dhabi, Ras Al Khaimah, and Sharjah, with 26,000 square meters of exploration acreage.

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