According to the politician, this is an important step towards ensuring energy independence in the country. He put it this way: the necessary investments can begin now so that Romgaz, together with OMV Petrom, which owns another 50 percent stake, can start extracting gas from the deep-water field by 2026 at the latest.
The Prime Minister noted that the extraction of gas fields in the Black Sea will not only be able to cover Romania’s needs for its own resources, but will also benefit its neighbors and other EU member states from the energy source.
He noted that government parties submitted a draft of the new Law of the Sea to Parliament in April, and the ruling coalition pledged to create favorable conditions for investors to extract offshore gas reserves, which can be predicted by voting on the law.
The $1.06 billion deal was approved by Romgaz’s general meeting of shareholders last December.
Exxon signed an agreement with OMV Petrom in 2008 to explore natural gas fields on the Black Sea continental shelf in the 7,500 square kilometer Neptune region, with sea depths ranging from 100 to 1,700 metres. The two companies announced in 2012 that they had discovered large reserves of natural gas, estimated at 42 to 84 billion cubic metres, in a deep-sea area 170 kilometers off the Romanian coast.
Meanwhile, Romanian gas transportation system operator Transgaz has built a 500-kilometre section of the Bulgarian-Romanian-Hungarian-Austrian (BRUA) gas corridor in Romania, which will allow the transportation of Black Sea gas to other EU countries.
Hungary has repeatedly indicated its desire to buy natural gas from the Black Sea, but Exxon and OMV have not started extraction because they are not satisfied with the terms of the maritime law passed by the Romanian Parliament in 2018, and the US company decided in 2019 to sell it. Period.
In addition to the promising deep gas field Neptune, several smaller sites have been discovered under the base of the Black Sea. According to the Romanian prime minister, the Black Sea Oil and Gas Company, founded by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and private equity group Carlyle, will begin extracting about 1 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually from the Midia region, which is closer to the Romanian coast.
Transgas also announced last year that it would start building a pipeline to transport gas from the Black Sea coast to the BRUA corridor. The pipeline between Tuzla and Bodesoor could be completed by 2023.
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