Thailand’s PTT Exploration and Production Company (PTTEP) has picked up a 25% stake in a key onshore oil and gas exploration block in the emirate of Sharjah.

The Thai player said in a statement last week that it has acquired a 25% “participating interest in the concession — Area C, onshore the emirate of Sharjah, from Eni Sharjah", a subsidiary of Italy’s Eni.

“The investment aligns with PTTEP’s strategic focus on [the] petroleum prolific area in the Middle East,” the company said.

PTTEP added the farm-in “will be completed after fulfilling all conditions in the agreement and obtaining all necessary government approvals, with an expected completion date within 2021".

Onshore block Area C is located in the central part of the emirate of Sharjah, covering an area of about 1184 square kilometres.

Eni was awarded the exploration block in early 2019 that is believed to have a high gas & condensate potential with the possibility of integrating with surrounding fields that has reported a successful discovery of large gas & condensate resources,” PTTEP added.

After the completion of the acquisition, Eni Sharjah would continue to operate the onshore asset with a 50% stake, while PTTEP and the Sharjah National Oil Company (SNOC) will each hold a 25% participating interest.

A 3D seismic survey is being currently conducted on the onshore block that is likely to extend until 2022.

Montri Rawanchaikul, the chief executive PTTEP said the “investment marks another important milestone,” for the company in expanding its presence into another area of UAE, the Sharjah emirate.

“We believe that the capabilities, expertise and technology brought by this partnership to the Concession Area C will lead to successful discovery,” he said.

PTTEP presently has stakes in three UAE blocks in partnership with Eni that include — the Abu Dhabi Offshore 1, 2 & 3 acreages, which are all in the exploration phase.