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Mediterranean Oil & Gas, Petroceltic prepare for future after partial easing of Italian offshore ban

Two junior explorers are preparing to recommence the development of projects in Italy following a partial easing of restrictions on offshore oil and gas projects.

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Two junior explorers are preparing to recommence the development of projects in Italy following a partial easing of restrictions on offshore oil and gas projects.

Mediterranean Oil & Gas (LON:MOG) and Petroceltic International (LON:PCI) welcomed key amendments to the embargo, which were formally ratified in law by the Italian parliament on Friday.

Although Decree 83/2012 actually reinforces and clarifies certain restrictions, it gives the green light to production applications made before the ban was introduced in 2010.

In the case of MOG, it will be able to seek the award of a production concession covering the Ombrina Mare oil and gas field in the central Adriatic based on the application it submitted in December 2008. 

Its existing production concession AC19.PI in the northern Adriatic is also excluded from the restrictions of the previous decree banning offshore development. 

MOG said it will provide an update on the plans for development once the production concession has been granted.

Chief executive Bill Higgs added: "This is very positive news and we are pleased the Italian Parliament has now approved and ratified in law Decree 83/2012. 

“Once the full details of the Decree are published we look forward to being able to continue with the development of the Ombrina Mare field, a project that is of considerable strategic importance to the company and that will be a very positive contributor to the Italian economy."

Petroceltic boss Brian O'Cathain said he was “very pleased” the new decree had been added to the statute book.

Italy’s technocrat Prime Minister Mario Monti used Italy’s decree laws, which are intended for situations of extreme urgency or necessity, to push through the latest changes in July.

Although they came into force immediately, the measures still had to be approved by parliament before being formally adopted. 

This made for a nervous wait for both MOG and Petrolceltic as there can be tweaks and wholesale changes made to legislation in the 60 days before formal ratification.

"We are very pleased that the decree has been approved and believe that the new law removes the existing uncertainty concerning exploration, development and production activities in Italian waters,” said O'Cathain.

“We will now commence discussions with the relevant National and Regional institutions concerning the Elsa project, which we are committed to progressing to the benefit of all stakeholders in a safe and environmentally-responsible manner."

 

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