If the Black Sea deposits are confirmed, Exxon and Petrom will invest approximately USD 4-5 bln to tap them, President Traian Basescu stated following a visit to the Ocean Endeavor rig.
Five or six years from now Romania will be capable of covering both its natural gas needs and those of the Republic of Moldova. “It (the drilling – editor’s note) has started, we know an important deposit was discovered in Domino 1 last year, now they are drilling in Domino 2,” President Traian Basescu stated, pointing out that the Ocean Endeavor rig will remain there in the first quarter of next year too, for more explorations, including in other perimeters leased to Exxon and Petrom.
The President pointed out that the start of drilling in the Black Sea was one of his goals. The statements were made after President Basescu visited the Ocean Endeavor drilling rig in the perimeters in which ExxonMobil and Petrom are drilling for natural gas. The event was attended by officials from the two companies. Traian Basescu also stated that he is very happy an agreement was reached with Transgaz, which will transport the Black Sea resources provided they are discovered and in sufficient quantity.
Moreover, Basescu stated that in October it will be known with certainty what the gas pressure is in the Domino 2 perimeter, what are the estimated gas deposits there, and that will allow the Petrom-Exxon consortium to evaluate the production costs and the investments needed. “If the deposits are confirmed, and we hope they will be, Exxon and Petrom will have to invest approximately USD 4-5 bln in order for the deposit to be rendered exploitable,” Traian Basescu added. The two companies jointly own Domino-1, the first deep water exploration well in Romanian waters and in 2012, they said they had discovered 1.5-3 trillion cubic feet (42-84 billion cubic metres (bcm)) of gas reserves. Earlier this year, Petrom and Exxon began drilling a second deepwater well in the Black Sea in the European Union state, needed to assess the size and commercial viability of the gas field previously discovered at Domino-1. He pointed out that the sum is impressive, but “the strength of the two companies” makes him optimistic, especially when considering that they are “companies that are used to success, especially Exxon, which specializes in deep-water drilling.”
Traian Basescu thanked the two companies and had this message for them: “Until December 21, 2014, I will be their official supporter; starting on December 22, I will be a Romanian that supports the success of the investment.”
OMV Austria, partner as long as the country’s interest “is served with priority”
President Basescu also stated on Wednesday that according to press reports OMV Austria seems to be launching policies that are not in favor of the Romanian state, warning that this company will be Romania’s partner as long as the country’s interest “is served with priority.” The Head of State did not offer details about the OMV policies that are allegedly not in Romania’s favor, however his statements come after OMV and Gazprom agreed in June to establish a joint company that would build and operate the Austrian section of the South Stream natural gas pipeline, a project that the European Commission does not support because it does not contribute to diversifying the sources of natural gas supply. In fact, the project was suspended the moment when the European Commission expressed its concern with the bilateral agreements that Russia has with countries that will be transited by the natural gas pipeline, countries such as Austria, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovenia. OMV Austria Director General Gerhard Roiss had stated in early August that he is certain that the authorities in Brussels will accept the construction of the pipeline despite the reservations expressed by EU officials.