Exxon Mobil Corp is so confident of prospects in the unexplored Black Sea it will spend USD 735 M to drill just two deep-water wells off Ukraine’s coast. The outlay comprises a USD 335 M signing bonus for Ukraine’s government and a promise to spend a further USD 400 M on seismic surveys and drilling two wells, according to an Energy Ministry official, Mediafax informs quoting Bloomberg. After making a natural gas discovery in neighbouring Romania that may flow fast enough to supply half of that country’s consumption, Exxon plans exploration in Bulgaria, Russia and Ukraine. The Black Sea is almost untouched by the oil industry, with fewer than 100 wells drilled, compared with more than 7,000 in the North Sea. Improving drilling technologies and increased regional energy demand is drawing explorers to its challenging waters deeper than 1,000 feet (300 meters). Ukraine plans to sign a completed exploration agreement with Exxon later this year before offering more blocks to explorers, the Energy Ministry official said, asking not to be named because he’s not authorized to speak to the media. The Skifska area covered by the license is adjacent to Romania’s Neptun block where Exxon and partner OMV Petrom SA (SNP) made last year’s Domino-1 gas find, which showed potential output at about 630 million cubic feet a day.