by Silvia Boltuc
ENI continues expanding its presence in the Middle East, particularly in the United Arab Emirates, as demonstrated by the recent agreement that the Italian oil company signed to operate Block 7 in the coastal zone of the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah.
On April 19th, 2021, the Italian company through its ENI RAK division signed an Exploration and Production Agreement with the Ras Al Khaimah (RAK) Petroleum Authority. Block 7 covers an area of 430 km2 onshore Ras Al Khaimah. Eni RAK will act as Operator of the Block with a 90% participating interest and Ras Al Khaimah’s National Oil Company RAK Gas as a partner with a 10% stake. According to ENI’s press release, “Block 7 represents an underexplored acreage in a complex thrust belt geological setting, similar to that of the recent discovery of Mahani in the adjacent Sharjah Emirate. The newly acquired 3D seismic will allow the joint venture to assess the geological setting of the area and eventually unlock its hydrocarbon potential. The presence of the existing gas processing facilities in the Emirate would also allow a rapid development of any discoveries.“
ENI is already working in the region since in April 2019 the Italian company signed an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement for Block A Offshore in the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah. In total ENI operates eight exploration blocks in the United Arab Emirates onshore, in shallow waters, and offshore.
Why this matters? Because this agreement has underlined the importance that the Italian oil company has acquired in the Middle Eastern energy market considering its presence in the region. Until now ENI is operating in UAE, Oman, Lebanon, Iraq and Bahrain strengthening its position in the regional oil & gas market and contrasting other international competitors.
The agreement on RAK Block A consolidates ENI’s presence in the Emirates increasing the Italian company’s producing opportunities. Indeed, as different scholars and experts in the field of petroleum and chemical engineering pointed out, the Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah might have a great hydrocarbon potential although historically speaking oil and gas explorations have been limited to the Cretaceous carbonates of the Arabian Platform.
Talking about the UAE it should be noted that at the end of 2020 the Emirate of Abu Dabhi announced plans to invest 122 billion dollars in the oil & gas sector for the next five years. Thanks to this investment plan the Emirate will foster growth and expansion in all areas of business, including mining, processing and training.