The Board of Mediterranean Oil & Gas Plc announces that, further to the announcement of 12 July 2013 and the continuing delay to the Ombrina Mare Project, it has today filed an appeal (the “Appeal”) before the Administrative Court in Rome against the Italian Ministry of the Environment and of Protection of Land and Sea (“MEPLS”) through the Company’s Italian subsidiary Medoilgas Italia S.p.A.
The Appeal is aimed at obtaining the annulment and, as an interim measure, the suspension of the letter dated 9 July 2013 (the “Letter”) from MEPLS requesting the Company to apply for and obtain an Integrated Environmental Authorisation (“AIA”) as a precondition for MEPLS’ approval of the Environmental Impact Assessment (“EIA”) for Ombrina Mare. As part of the Appeal, the Company has also requested a judicial order to instruct MEPLS to issue the EIA Decree.
In October 2012 MEPLS advised the Company that, consistent with the applicable law, an AIA would not be required prior to first production from the project. Moreover, on 25 January 2013 the EIA Technical Committee had ruled in favour of the Company’s EIA submission, and on 17 April 2013 the EIA Director General of MEPLS sent the draft EIA decree with a positive recommendation to the office of the Minister.
“The Company is in continuing dialogue with the Italian Government and other key stakeholders to seek resolution on a way forward for the project outside of the Courts. In the Board’s view, such discussions are not hindered by the Appeal,” says the company in a press release.
Ombrina Mare is an oil and gas field discovered in 2008 in the Central Adriatic and located in 20 metres of water depth four miles offshore. Recoverable reserves (2P) are currently estimated to be 40 million barrels of oil and 6.5 Bcf of gas. Medoilgas Italia SpA owns 100% of the Exploration Permit BR269 GC, which was awarded in 2005. The Production Concession Application was submitted in December 2008 and pre-approved by the Ministry for Economic Development in June 2009. An Environmental Impact Assessment was submitted to the Ministry for the Environment for approval in December 2009. Development activities were put on hold by the Company to comply with DLGS 128/2010. On the 5th May, 2012, the Ministry for the Environment granted a three year extension to the exploration permit to May 2015. An exemption to DLGS 128/2010 was formalized into law (DLGS 134/2012) on 7th August 2012, which enabled MOG to seek approval of the EIA submitted in 2009.