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The dual exploration model

First search for and find fields. Then sell stakes in those fields to raise funds. It’s a model that works.

A new approach

In 2013, Eni made a radical change in its exploration model in Mozambique. We sold a 20 per cent stake in Area 4 of the newly discovered Mozambique offshore field to the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), retaining a 50 per cent stake. It was the first application of a new model aimed at generating liquidity before extraction and sale. Today, Eni applies that model everywhere.   

The strategy is known as the dual exploration model and is based on a simple principle: while Eni’s reserves of hydrocarbons grow as we search for, discover and acquire deposits, early monetisation brings benefits. How? We sell minority shares to other players, but retain the control and management of operations. The dual exploration model is significant not only for the cash flow it generates, but also for the market recognition of our exploration assets as well as Eni’s corporate profile, which is enhanced with every acquisition by a global operator.

From Zohr to Indonesia – a global model

After Mozambique, the dual exploration model was next applied in 2016 to Zohr, which at the time of discovery was the largest natural gas field in the Mediterranean. Minority stakes in the Shorouk concession were initially sold to BP (10 per cent) and Rosneft (30 per cent) and then, in March 2018, a further 10 per cent was sold to Mubadala Petroleum. 

At the end of 2018, Mubadala Petroleum also bought 20 per cent of the Nooros concession, an Egyptian offshore field three times the size of Zohr. Meanwhile, Eni sold an indirect 25 per cent stake in Area 4 in the Mozambique offshore field to ExxonMobil. Finally, Eni, through its subsidiaries Eni East Sepinggan Limited, Neptune Energy East Sepinggan BV and Eni Neptune Energy Group Limited, sold a 20 per cent stake in the offshore area in Indonesia

These examples demonstrate how the model, first trialled in 2013/14, has quickly become established practice and been a major success.

The dual exploration model: a beneficial system

The dual exploration model makes it possible to reduce investments in long-term financial assets without losing control of operations or concessions. In addition, it increases returns. Since 2013, this winning formula has enabled us to generate more than $10bn through the advance monetisation of reserves from exploration activities.