Total E&P Bulgaria said on Wednesday that it has started the third deepwater exploration drilling in Bulgarian offshore block 1-21 Han Asparuh in the Black Sea.
The drilling of the third deepwater exploration well, Melnik-1, shows the company’s commitment to exploring the full hydrocarbon potential of the block, Kevin Hannaford, general manager of Total E&P Bulgaria, said in a statement.
Works will be carried out by Noble Corporation’s Noble Globetrotter II ship, which was also used for the first two exploration wells, Polshkov-1 and Rubin-1.
Total has a 40% interest in the project, while its partners OMV and Repsol own stakes of 30% each.
In March, Bulgaria’s government extended by two years the permit held by Total, OMV and Repsol for exploring for oil and gas in the 1-21 Han Asparuh block. During the two years, the companies will carry out additional geophysical works worth a total of 3 million euro ($3.7 million) at the block, the government said at the time.
The 1-21 Han Asparuh block is located deep offshore in the Bulgarian sector in the western part of the Black Sea and covers an area of 14,220 sq km with water depths up to 2,200 m.
The companies won a permit for prospecting and exploration of oil and gas in the 1-21 Han Asparuh block in 2012. Under the terms of the contract, they committed to invest over 1 billion euro ($1.1 million) in the gas exploration process, while Bulgaria would receive 40 million euro in the form of a bonus payment from the deal, the Bulgarian economy ministry said at the time.
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