Exploration firm Petroceltic wins new Egyptian licence

Joint venture with Edison International awarded licence for North Port Fouad block

Oil and gas exploration firm Petroceltic has announced that a joint venture it formed with Edison International has received a new exploration licence in Egypt.

Petroceltic, which on Thursday said it was to resume drilling in Kurdistan shortly, said that the joint venture was the successful bidder for North Port Fouad block, which is located offshore the Nile Delta. It is adjacent to the North Thekah Block, which was awarded to Petroceltic/Edison in 2013.

The combined area of both licences is in excess of 7,000 square kilometres.

There have been no wells drilled on the North Port Fouad block to date but regional and seismic evidence indicates that the proven Nile Delta Oligocene and Levantine Basin Miocene plays are likely to be present. Major hydrocarbon discoveries have been reported in both plays in recent years.


Petroceltic has a 50 per cent non-operated interest in North Port Fouad, which has an initial 3-year term and is extendable up to a maximum duration of 8 years. The firm work programme commitment in the initial 3-year term comprises the acquisition of 1,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic data, Petroceltic said. There is no well obligation in the first licence period.

It is expected that new licence will be formally awarded in early 2015 following ratification and finalisation of production sharing contract

“We are delighted to have been awarded the North Port Fouad Block which, together with last year’s North Thekah award, gives Petroceltic access to a substantial acreage position in the outer Nile Delta and Levantine Basin plays and significantly enhances our Egyptian exploration portfolio,” said Petroceltic’s chief executive Brian O’Cathain.

“These blocks are located in an area of the Mediterranean which has yielded several world class Oligocene and Miocene discoveries in recent years. Furthermore, the award of the North Port Fouad block continues with our strategy of opportunistic organic growth in territories where we have existing operations, knowledge and experience,” he added.

Davy, in a note to investors, said the group’s Egyptian presence should begin to reap rewards in the coming years with recent licence acquisition made during a period of low competition providing a rich source of new value.

It said the development of Petroceltic’s licence package in Egypt’s eastern Nile delta was a very successful project, which at its peak produced 39,000 barrels of oil equivalent.

"As a result of this work, Petroceltic has a very good understanding of the region's geology and the optimum way to harness its hydrocarbon endowment," said Davy analyst Job Langbroek.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist