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SINGAPORE, April 16 (Reuters) - East Timor's oil regulator has signed a contract with Italy's Eni to explore for and produce oil in the Timor Sea, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Autoridade Nacional do Petróleo (ANP) and Eni signed the production sharing contract on Saturday for JPDA 11-106, a block in the Joint Petroleum Development Area (JPDA) between East Timor and Australia, said Rui Maria Alves Soares, ANP's director for development and production.
"It is also the first time that our national oil company is joining an exploration project," he said.
The project aims to increase output at the neighbouring offshore Kitan oilfield, or JPDA 06-105, where output has halved from peak levels of 40,000 barrels per day since it started production in the fourth quarter of 2011.
The consortium will drill two wells in the first two years.
Oil and gas group Eni operates the Kitan field, with a 40 percent stake, while Japan's top oil and gas explorer Inpex Corp owns 35 percent. Talisman Energy Inc holds the rest.