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Italian explorer Eni SpA’s (E - Analyst Report) Vietnam subsidiary, Eni Vietnam BV, has started drilling operations at the Ca Ngu-1 exploration well off Vietnam, as per its partner KrisEnergy.

Located in Eni-operated Block 120, in the Phu Khanh basin off the Gulf of Tonkin, Ca Ngu-1, is being drilled by semi-submersible rig Songa Mercur. The primary purpose of drilling the probe is to establish the oil and gas potential at the Ca Ngu prospect.

The well lies in water depth of about 270 meters, while Eni intends to drill the well to a total vertical depth of 1,500 meters below sea.

Block 120 spans an acreage of 8,574 square kilometers overlying the Quang Ngai graben and the Tri Ton horst.  It is a prospect identified by the earlier 2D and 3D seismic acquisition, where water depths range from 50–1,100 meters. The graben links the Song Hong and Qiongdongnan basins in the north to the Phu Khanh basin in the south.

In Jun 2012, Eni farmed into Blocks 105-110/04 and 120, with a stake of 50%. The blocks are located in the Song Hong and Phu Khanh basins. As per Eni, the Song Hong basin is estimated to hold 10% of Vietnam's hydrocarbon resources, mainly contemplated to comprise natural gas.

The other partners in the block are KrisEnergy and Neon Energy each holding 25%.

Eni with its consolidated subsidiaries is engaged in oil and gas, electricity generation, petrochemicals, oilfield services and engineering industries. We believe that Eni’s constant efforts to expand its upstream operations in Cyprus, Egypt, Vietnam, Indonesia, Pakistan and Kenya will go a long way in generating profitable growth in the future.

Eni carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, Zacks Ranked #1 (Strong Buy) stocks – Enerplus Corp. (ERF - Snapshot Report), Stone Energy Corp. (SGY - Analyst Report) and Linn Energy LLC (LINE - Snapshot Report) – are good buying options for the short term.

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