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Eni Inks Exploration Agreement for Block 52, Offshore Oman

Eni SpA E has inked an Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) with Oman Oil Company Exploration and Production ("OOCEP"), a subsidiary of state company Oman Oil Company SAOC ("OOC"), relating to Block 52.

Block 52 covers an area of about 90,000 square kilometer. It is an unexplored area with immense hydrocarbon potential. The area is located in the southern region of Oman in water depths ranging from 10 to more than 3,000 meters.

Per the EPSA, Eni, through its subsidiary, Eni Oman B.V., will be the operator of the block. The company will hold 85% interest, while its partner OOCEP will hold the remaining stakes. Eni won exploration rights for Block 52 consequent to an international bid round process initiated in October 2016.

Eni also signed an agreement with Qatar Petroleum to farm in the block. Per the agreement, Qatar Petroleum will acquire a stake of 30% in Block 52 from Eni. On completion of this transaction, Eni’s holding will decline to 55%. The other partners — Qatar Petroleum and OOCEP —  will hold 30% and 15%, respectively. The agreement is subject to the approval of the competent authorities of the Sultanate of Oman.

This EPSA relating to Block 52 emphasizes Eni’s aim to strengthen presence in the Middle East. The block’s robust oil and gas production history will add value to the company’s portfolio.

Price Movement

The company’s shares have returned 6.6% compared with the industry’s rally of 11.4% in the last three months.


Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Eni currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked players in the energy sector include Braskem SA BAK, ConocoPhillips COP and Northern Oil and Gas Inc NOG. All these stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

The largest petrochemical operator in Latin America, Braskem, delivered a positive earnings surprise of 68.54% in the preceding quarter.

ConocoPhillips, based in Houston, TX, is a major global exploration and production (E&P) company. It delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 152.34% in the last four quarters.

Northern Oil and Gas, based in Minnetonka, MN, is an independent energy company. The company delivered an earnings surprise of 100.00% in the preceding quarter.

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