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Eni Discovers Natural Gas in Pakistan at Field North of Karachi

Sept. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Eni SpA, Italy’s largest oil company, reported a natural gasdiscovery in Pakistan, a country where reserves have been in decline.

The find was made 350 kilometers (269 miles) north of Karachi in the Khirtar Fold Belt region. The well was drilled in the Badhra Area B block to a depth of 2,450 meters, Eni said in a statement today.

Eni said the size of the discovery was probably 300 billion to 400 billion cubic feet of gas in place. Pakistan’s total gas reserves were 27.5 trillion cubic feet at the end of 2011, down 5.5 percent from a year earlier, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review of World Energy.

The discovery is 20 kilometers east of Eni’s Bhit gas processing facility and the company said it has already started discussions with the Pakistani regulator to speed up the production from the discovery. The company produced approximately 54,800 barrels of oil equivalent per day in 2011 in Pakistan, making the Rome-based explorer the country’s largest producer.

“The drilling of Badhra North B-1 is part of Eni’s new strategy in Pakistan which aims to refocus exploration activities in the neighboring areas to productive fields,” the company said.

The Badhra block is operated by Eni, with a 40 percent stake in the project, Premier Oil Plc, which has 6 percent, Kufpec Pakistan Ltd. with 34 percent and Oil & Gas Development Company Ltd., which has 20 percent.

Premier Oil’s shares rose as much as 3.2 percent, to 391.4 pence. They were trading at 383.5 pence as of 9:56 a.m. London time. Eni SpA’s shares were up 0.7 percent at 18.42 euros after reaching a high of 18.56 euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Roxana Zega in London at rzega@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Will Kennedy at wkennedy3@bloomberg.net

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