Of these, 40 TCF are to [indiscernible] with Area 1. And 20 TCF in structures, which are fully in our block. Following this success, we now estimate the overall potential of the discoveries in Area 4, 70 TCF of gas in place. We've also been working on our long-term exploration prospects, securing new and promising acreage in the Norwegian and Russian Barents Sea, in the Black Sea, East Africa and in the Far East.
Turning now to our operating performance. While in E&P, we see the benefit of rapid recovery of Libyan volumes, our Italian European businesses faced strong economic headwinds. In Gas & Power, gas demand continued to fall, driven by the weak economy and the competitiveness of coal and renewables in power generation.
For an idea of the impact this is having, normalized demand in the first 6 months of the year was 5% lower in Italy and 7% lower in key European countries year-on-year and as much as 13% and 18% lower compared to the precrisis first half of 2008. This has prevented European oversupply from being absorbed, stock prices from closing the gap with oil linked prices. In this context, we have leveraged on recent supply renegotiations to remain competitive and profitable.
In the first half, our merchant business delivered a positive result, even excluding one-offs, of which the main one is the gas from extraordinary benefit. R&M is also suffering from unprecedented demand decline. Italian consumption of refined products was down by around 10% in the first half of the year, adding further pressure to Europe structural refining overcapacity. We are working to offset the negative market environment through cost cuts and temporary capacity reductions, such as the partial closure of our Gela refinery.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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