Saipem has won a transportation and installation contract worth 300 million euro (US$308 million) from a subsidiary of energy giant Eni for work on an offshore gas pipeline in Italy.

Saipem's latest contract was awarded by Enimed, a subsidiary of Eni, and will involve T&I work on an offshore gas pipeline connecting the four wells of the Argo and Cassiopea fields to the Sicilian coast in Italy.

“With a length of 60 kilometres and a maximum water depth of 660 metres, the 14-nch gas pipeline will be installed by Castorone and Castoro 10, both globally recognised as first-class pipelay vessels,” the Italian engineering and services contractor said.

In addition, its Saipem 3000 vessel will install umbilicals connecting Cassiopea wells to the Prezioso platform.

Strategic project

Saipem added that the Cassiopea project represents a strategic and complementary infrastructure in the framework of Italian gas supply, which has been recently affected by the geopolitical scene in Europe.

Cassiopea lies in about 650 metres of water in the Sicily Channel, with Argo located to the east in a water depth of 560 metres.

The original development plan for Argo-Cassiopea was submitted to the Italian authorities for approval in 2010 but was hit by multiple delays owing to adverse impacts of environmental legislation, multiple oil price crashes and, latterly, the energy transition.

It is understood that gas from up to three wells on Cassiopea and one well on Argo will flow via the offshore pipeline directly to shore, after which production will be routed to a dedicated onshore compression and processing plant at Gela.

Last year, London-listed independent Energean, Eni’s only partner in the project, stated that the first gas is now expected in 2024 — as opposed to the previous target of early 2023 — with the project expected to deliver plateau production rates of about 150 million cubic feet per day.

Argo was discovered in 2006 and appraised in 2008 with suggestions at the time that a combined development of Argo, Cassiopea and the nearby Panda field could come on stream in 2012.

Eni has a 60% stake in these Italian assets, with Energean on 40%.