Riding the waves | 336 (June 2017)

Romania is set to become a leading player in Eastern Europe’s gas market.

2017-06-21 14:39 Views 266

Geological exploration on the Romanian shelf of the Black Sea

Romania is set to become a leading player in Eastern Europe’s gas market.

Olga Mikhaylova

Oil companies have been actively exploring for oil in Romania’s part of the Black Sea after the country resolved its border dispute with Ukraine in 2009. The biggest investors have been US-based ExxonMobil, Russia-based LUKOIL, Romania-based Black Sea Oil & Gas and Austria-based OMV Petrom.

Last decades has witnessed several important discoveries. Black Sea Oil & Gas oilfields were found in 1995 (Doina), 2007 (Ana) and 2012 (Eugenia). The same year ExxonMobil and OMV announced they had found major field called Domino on the Neptun Deep block. In 2015 LUKOIL discovered the Lira reservoir on the EX-30 Trident block.

However actually developing these fields requires considerable time and investments due primarily to the depths and complicated geology involved. They require the most modern exploration and production technologies. There’s also market risk: in future Romanian gas will have to compete not only with gas from Western Siberia that’s currently being exported by Russian monopoly Gazprom, but also with so-called “blue fuel” in the East Mediterranean offshore blocks of Cyprus, Israel and Lebanon.

Nonetheless oil producers are optimistic about Romania’s offshore prospects. Black Sea Oil & Gas is planning to launch production at two offshore fields in 2019, while ExxonMobil – in 2020-2021. LUKOIL is analyzing the results of its large-scale exploration of the EX-30 Trident block and planning to drill a new exploratory well Trinity – 1X (see main article).

Developing these offshore fields will not only make Romania completely independent of external sources of gas, but will also allow the country to become a net exporter. “Romania is in a unique situation because it’s basically the only source of gas in Eastern Europe, not counting Russia…And this has major advantages…Being a source of gas on the border with Western Europe is great,” explained Black Sea Oil & Gas General Director Mark Beacom.

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