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Romania’s OMV Petrom ‘ready’ to become Neptun gas field operator

BLACK SEA
OIL & GAS

Romania’s OMV Petrom ‘ready’ to become Neptun gas field operator

Romania's OMV Petrom is "ready" to take over as the operator of the major Neptun gas field project in the Black Sea if current operator ExxonMobil goes through with its intention to quit the project, a senior OMV Petrom official said. Source: S&PGlobal

The development of Neptun which was discovered in 2012 and is estimated to hold up to 84 Bcm of gas has been put on hold due to concerns over the regulatory environment in Romania.

Speculation about ExxonMobil looking to exit Neptun began to circulate in July 2019, with the US major finally confirming it was ready to sell its 50% stake in November last year.

What we have said is that as OMV Petrom we would be ready to be the operator if ExxonMobil decides to leave.

Franck Neel, Board Member, OMV Petrom

But as long as Exxon is still in the project, I'm not going to say anything else.

Franck Neel, Board Member, OMV Petrom

There have been reports in recent weeks that the situation was close to being resolved, with state-controlled Romgaz rumored to be set to buy out ExxonMobil's stake in Neptun, which could lead to a final investment decision in 2021.

Romgaz which could not be reached for comment had previously said it was interested in joining the project.

Neptun had been expected to start producing in 2021 at a rate of some 6 Bcm/year if the FID had been taken as planned in the second half of 2018.

But a controversial offshore law enacted that year prompted ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom which also holds a 50% stake in the project to delay the FID.

Romania is currently in the process of amending the offshore law, with Dan Dragan, state secretary at the Romanian economy ministry, saying that Bucharest planned to present its new offshore gas legislative proposals for public consultation in the first quarter of 2021.

OMV Petrom CEO Christina Verchere said that legislative changes were needed in Romania to ensure the economic viability of Black Sea gas developments.

We need predictability and stability in the legislation and we are acting strongly in this respect to encourage investors.

Niculae Havrilet, State Secretary at the Romanian Energy Ministry

The new offshore law, he said, would include provisions to promote interest in Black Sea gas fields.

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