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    Eni Assigns Noor Stake to Mubadala


Abu Dhabi financial firepower will co-fund Eni's exploration of its promising Egyptian gas block.

by: Mark Smedley

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Eni Assigns Noor Stake to Mubadala

Italian energy company Eni signed an agreement November 12 to farm out a 20% interest in its new Noor North Sinai offshore concession offshore Egypt to Abu Dhabi state investor Mubadala.

Eni's CEO, Claudio Descalzi, said: "This transaction strengthens our partnership after the successful relationship in Zohr and confirms Mubadala Petroleum's trust in Eni's robustness as operator, both in projects development and exploration activities."

Noor is a block in the prolific East Nile Delta Basin, some 50 km offshore, in water depth ranging from 50 to 400 metres, and covers a total area of 739 km2. Eni (now 85%, after the deal 65%) and Tharwa (15% equity) are carrying out the drilling of the exploration well as foreseen in the first exploration period of the Noor concession, said Eni.

The agreement was signed by Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi (left above) and his Mubadala counterpart Musabbeh al Kaabi who remarked: "This investment enables Mubadala Petroleum to further expand our position in Egypt while deepening our strategic partnership with Eni, the operator of both the Shorouk and Noor concessions."

Eni confirmed in August that it had been awarded the Noor block, as had been widely expected; Egyptian sources had suggested its prospective gas reserves are as large if not larger than Zohr's.

Five months ago Eni finalised the sale to Mubadala of a 10% stake in the Shorouk concession, which includes the giant Zohr gas field. Other stakes in Shorouk/Zohr are held thus: Eni 50% and operator; Russian state oil giant Rosneft 30%; and BP 10%.

Al Kaabi meanwhile told Bloomberg news agency that Mubadala would revisit its planned flotation of its 100%-owned Spanish subsidiary Cepsa when stock markets improve. Its initial public offering of at least 25% of Cepsa equity was cancelled mid-October.