Prospex Oil and Gas Plc said on Jan. 19 it has been advised by the operator Po Valley Energy Ltd. that strong flow rates from testing operations have confirmed a significant commercial gas discovery at the Podere Maiar-1d appraisal/redevelopment well.

Prospex holds a 17% interest in Podere Maiar, which is located on the Podere Gallina Exploration Permit in the Po Valley region of Italy, a proven hydrocarbon province where over 5,000 wells have been drilled historically.

Podere Maiar was drilled in fourth-quarter 2017 into the Selva gas-field, which historically produced 83 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of gas between 1960 and 1984. As of December 2017, two gas-bearing reservoirs, C1 and C2, were encountered by the well in the Medium-Upper Pliocene sands of the Porto Garibaldi Formation.

The peak flow rate achieved at C2, with a net pay of 25.5 million, was 148,136 standard cubic meters per day (scm/d) (5.2 million standard cubic feet per day (scf/d)) on a 3/8 inch choke and a pressure differential of 11 bar with no water production—pressure recovery to formation pressure occurred in two minutes.

The peak flow rate achieved atC1, with a net pay of 15.5 million, was 129,658 scm/d (4.6 million scf/d) on a 3/8 inch choke with good pressure recovery of approximately 12 minutes.

Based on the strong flow rates, which significantly exceed pre-test expectations of 100,000 scm/d, 99.1% methane gas content recorded at both levels, and the well's close proximity (600 m) to the Italian national grid pipeline connection, Po Valley Energy has declared Podere Maiar a commercial discovery. 

Po Valley Energy will now prepare and submit a production concession application to the Italian Ministry in H1 2018. The Ministry has been formally informed of the discovery and officials were in attendance during the successful test.

In tandem with this, analysis of the log and well test results will commence to generate revised contingent resource and reserve estimates, which is targeted for completion in second-quarter 2018. This work will include reservoir engineering to optimize production from the two gas levels over the field life.

Crucially, further upside exists as in addition to the Selva Field, Podere Gallina holds several other targets, including the much larger East Selva prospect. The remaining interests in Podere Gallina are held by Po Valley Eenergy (63%, operator) and United Oil & Gas Plc (20%).