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Italian firm sells oil blocks in contested Indian Ocean territory

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Eni and Qatar Petroleum have signed an agreement that will see the Qatari national oil company acquire a 13.75% share in the exploration blocks L11A, L11B and L12, in deep offshore Kenya. The proposed deal is pending subject to the approval of the regulatory agencies.

Blocks L11A, L11B and L12 are located in water depths ranging between 1,000 and 2,700 metres, cover a total surface of about 15,000 square kilometres and hold high exploration potential.

The three oil blocks border Somali waters and the sale is likely to raise interest as Kenya is currently embroiled a territorial dispute with the neighbouring country, which is set to settled in September by the International Court of Justice at The Hague.

In 2016, the government suspended oil exploration in the disputed part of the Indian Ocean affecting the Eni-owned blocks.

“Kenya has voluntarily suspended its transitory exploratory activities in the disputed area as an expression of its good faith. In May, we invited Somalia to enter into provisional arrangements pending an agreement on the maritime boundary.  We remain open to discussing these arrangements with Somalia,” then Attorney General Prof Githu Muigai said.

The dispute has, however, since escalated following reports Somali had auctioned oil blocks in the disputed area leading to diplomatic showdowns.

Eni and Total currently hold 55% and 45% interest share in the blocks respectively, with Eni acting as the operator. QP would acquire 25% interest share in each of the blocks, of which 13.75% from Eni and the remaining from Total. Accordingly, the composition of the joint venture should become Eni 41.25%, Total 33.75% and QP 25%.

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This is the last of a series of agreements recently inked with Qatar Petroleum, which further reinforces the continuously evolving strategic cooperation between the two companies. Eni and Qatar Petroleum are already partners in Oman, Mexico, Morocco and Mozambique.

Eni has been present in Kenya since 2014, through its subsidiary Eni Kenya.


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BT Reporter
BT Reporterhttp://www.businesstoday.co.ke
editor [at] businesstoday.co.ke
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