Romania: Black Sea Gas Discovery

While it is far too early to give accurate figures, the first deep water well in the Romanian part of the Black Sea looks to be a major success for operator and 50% shareholder ExxonMobil and its partner, Petrom, a member of the OMV Group.
This article appeared in Vol. 9, No. 2 - 2012


The Deepwater Champion was especially designed for the Black Sea. Source: Transocean Domino 1 in the Neptun Block is Romania’s first deepwater well in the Black Sea. Source: NASA In February it was re ported that the Domino-1 well had encountered 72m of net gas pay, suggesting as a preliminary estimate that the field could hold between 1.5 and 3 Tcf of gas. The discovery lies in the Neptun Block, about 170 km offshore, in the western Black Sea. The block covers an area of 9,900 km2 and has water depths varying from 50 to 1,700m, being about 930m at the well location. Between 2009 and 2010 the partners obtained more than 3,000 km2 of 3D seismic over the Neptun block, the largest seismic program ever undertaken in Romania.

Although the commerciality of the find is still under discussion, Exxon Mobil and OMV Petrom plan new 3D seismic over the block in the near future. The water depth and the relative remoteness of the region from other deepwater exploration areas will make getting the equipment needed to exploit the find an expensive business. The discovery well, however, was drilled using the Transocean Deepwater Champion, which was specially designed to facilitate entry into and out of the Black Sea. The double-hulled, self-propelled vessel is capable of holding its position in open water with nine-metre waves and 60-knot winds.

This discovery is potentially the biggest gas find ever for OMV, although Petrom is already the largest oil and gas producer in South East Europe. It is the sole crude oil producer in Romania, and accounts for approximately half of Romanian gas production. It holds exploration licenses for 15 onshore and two offshore blocks, and operates 255 commercial oil and gas fields in the country.

Romania is one of the oldest hydro carbon producing countries in the world with initial production recorded in 1858. At one time it was the largest petroleum producer in Eastern Europe.


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