Deepwater Black Sea gas opens competition, analyst claims

Offshore staff

EDINBURGH, UK – Wood Mackenzie suggests recent deepwater developments in the Black Sea, notably ExxonMobil/OMV Petrom’s play-opening 2.5-tcf Domino discovery in the Romanian sector, could have a major impact on the region’s gas supply dynamics.

Wood Mackenzie claims 630 MMcf/d could be onstream in the early 2020s from Domino, making Romania a net exporter of gas for the first time.

The economics of Black Sea deepwater gas developments stack up for investors, the analyst adds, even in the current climate, with gas production in the area forecast to attract a significantly lower price than competing sources from Russia and Azerbaijan.

Chris Meredith, senior analyst for continental and Mediterranean Europe Upstream research, said: “We believe this could even be improved if more gas is proven at Domino, or if new sources of gas are found in the surrounding areas.”

Meredith continued:  “ExxonMobil is continuing to invest hundreds of millions of dollars exploring the area – drilling the Pelican South and Dolphin wells – despite the low oil price environment and pressure to cut exploration budgets.

“In addition, Shell has already spudded its first well in the Turkish Black Sea, while Total, OMV, and Repsol plan to drill a deepwater well in the Bulgarian sector in early 2016.”

As a gas exporter, he suggested, Romania would have a number of options, the clearest route being to next-door neighbor Hungary, where uncontracted demand is set to rise to around 300 MMcf/d over the next decade.

“There is also potential for new Black Sea gas supply to reach other markets like Serbia and Bulgaria, but this would be subject to new pipelines being constructed.”


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