OMV Petrom sanctions deep-water gas project in Black Sea

Romanian integrated oil and gas producer OMV Petrom has taken the final investment decision for the Neptun Deep natural gas project in the Black Sea, as Romania eyes the opportunity to become an exporter of natural gas to Europe.

OMV Petrom will be operator of the project in a 50:50 partnership with Romgaz.

The two companies will jointly carry out the development work, investing up to €4 billion ($3.42 billion).

The approved development plan covers two natural gas fields, Domino and Pelican South, located in the Neptun Deep offshore block in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea.

First gas is expected in 2027. The estimated commercial volume of the project is 100 billion cubic metres, allowing for about 10 years’ production. Output is estimated to reach a plateau of around 140,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day.

Through the development of Neptun Deep, OMV chief executive Alfred Stern said Romania is “set to become the largest natural gas producer in the EU”.

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The executive stressed the significance of the project in the context of securing supplies of natural gas to Europe in the coming years: “Neptun Deep is expected to provide a reliable and secure source of energy in the region, while strengthening our group’s position in the Black Sea region and in southeastern Europe.”

Located some 160 kilometres off the Romanian coast, the Neptun Deep block covers an area of ​​7500 square kilometres in water depths ranging between 100 and 1000 metres.

Exploration activities have been carried out since 2008, and gas was discovered in 2012.

OMV said it would deploy three subsea production systems, an offshore platform, a main natural gas pipeline and a gas measurement station to develop Domino and Pelican South with a total of 10 wells across the two fields. The infrastructure will be operated remotely and digitally, allowing for process optimisation and higher energy efficiency.

Earlier this week, Romania green-lighted the construction of the main pipeline link, known as Tuzla-Podisor, that will connect the Neptun Deep project to the country’s gas transmission network.

Romania’s gas transmission operator Transgaz awarded the construction contract for the 308-kilometre pipeline (32 kilometres of which will be offshore) to a subsidiary of Turkey’s Kalyon Group. Tuzla-Podisor may become a strategic connection in the future to move natural gas produced in Azerbaijan’s Caspian offshore fields to Europe.

OMV said the carbon footprint of the Neptun Deep field would be lower than the industry average. It estimates carbon dioxide emissions of 2.2 kilograms of CO2 per barrel of oil equivalent at plateau production, compared with an industry average of 16.7 kilograms of CO2 per boe, according to IOGP data.