Total Wins Deepwater Gas Drilling Bid

Thursday, July 12, 2012 @ 05:07 PM gHale

French oil major Total will carry out exploration works at a deepwater gas field off Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast, near a site in Romanian waters where they just made a gas discovery, officials said today.

Total won the tender to carry out exploration for five years at Khan Asparuh field over British-based Melrose Resources. The French group plans to work with Austria’s OMV and Spain’s Repsol.

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The Balkan country, almost fully dependent on Russian natural gas supplies, is seeking ways to diversify its gas routes and sources to cuts costs and boost its energy security.

“This means a real diversification … It will help us decrease gas prices and will help us during negotiations for the purchase of gas (with Russia’s Gazprom),” Prime Minister Boiko Borisov said.

U.S. operator Exxon Mobil, which had already announced a huge gas find at an offshore Black Sea well in Romanian waters together with OMV, had filed an initial offer, but later withdrew from the tender.

Bulgaria’s Economy and Energy Minister Delyan Dobrev said gas production could start within three to four years, provided the exploration activities point to substantial gas reserves.

The 15,000sq km Khan Asparuh block is only 15km from OMV’s Neptun block, which the Austrian company has said could produce up to 84 billion cubic meters of gas.

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