2013-12-14 09:13:31 - New Energy research report from Business Monitor International is now available from Fast Market Research
ExxonMobil is moving forward with the assessment of its Black Sea discovery, signalling a positive turn in Romania's upstream outlook. Further exploration efforts in the Black Sea from international oil companies (IOCs) are providing upside risk to the country's outlook. The growing presence of IOCs is a necessary step to take advantage of Romania's increasingly expensive and technically challenging oil and gas developments. The most prospective areas remain offshore in the Black sea and the onshore basins which could support shale gas, while enhanced oil recovery is also helping to bolster production levels from mature fields. Chevron has taken the lead in exploring for and developing shale gas prospects, with exploration drilling planned for the end of 2013.
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The main trends and developments for Romania's oil and gas sector include:
* Chevron has affirmed its commitment to developing Romania's shale gas resources after receiving licences to prospect for shale gas. The US group is the only holder of shale exploration licences in the country and has been granted permission to drill in three areas: Platinis, Popeni and Silistea. Drilling is expected to begin before the end of 2013 while further 2-D seismic will also take place. However, protests have continued to hamper exploration efforts with considerable public opposition despite government support.
* Interest in the potential of the Black Sea is strong. ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom have completed a 3-D seismic survey of the 6,000 square kilometre (sq km) Neptune Block, including the Domino-1 discovery. Data is currently under assessment to discern the technical and commercial feasibility of the discovery. The Ocean Endeavor semi-submersible has been leased to carry out further exploratory drilling towards the end of 2013 and into 2014. If commerciality is proven, production is unlikely to begin until 2018 at the earliest.
* According to officials from the National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM), Romania could be lining up a new oil and gas tender. The latest tender, which would be the 11th, is expected to offer 28 onshore blocks and eight offshore Black Sea blocks for oil and gas exploration. Preparation for the documentation for the tender is in progress, though no timeframe has been outlined as to when it may take place.
* Lukoil is waiting on the results of its 2,000sq km 3-D seismic surveys on the East Rapsodia and Trident blocks in the Romania Black Sea. The surveys were completed by the end of 2012, with the main prospects being identified and recommendations given for further exploration work in the area. Lukoil's current exploration agreement for its concessions runs to 2016.
* Petroceltic, operator of the shallow water Muridava and East Cobalescu licences, has identified two high-grade prospects for drilling in H213. The company is expecting to complete four further exploration wells in 2014.
* OMV Petrom is conducting an extensive redevelopment of 12 onshore and two offshore oil and gas fields in order to boost production. Planned developments to these sites include drilling new wells and workovers, water injection, polymer injection and steam injection, as well as modernising operations.
* The positive privatisation trend in Romania continues with the successful IPO of Romgaz in October 2013. 15% of the Ministry of Economy's 85.1% share of the company was sold to international investment funds. Further privatisation of electricity companies will also take place in 2014, improving the overall outlook for the energy industry.
* The Romanian government has hinted at an increase of oil and gas royalties from 2014. While no official figures on the changes have been publicised the National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM) declared current levels remain insufficient. The move could be of increased importance if the appraisal of the Domino field proves successful.
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