BTA News

Bulgarian Energy Minister, OMV Petrom Discuss Future of Oil and Gas Exploration in Black Sea after Withdrawal of Total

Energy Minister Vladimir Malinov and representatives of the Romanian company OMV Petrom discussed on Wednesday the prospects for oil and gas exploration in 1-21 Han Asparuh Block in the Black Sea, after the withdrawal of Total  of France from the project, the Energy Ministry said. For the Bulgarian side, potential local production is of key importance for achieving the goals of diversification of energy sources and the development of a local field would guarantee the country’s energy security and independence and would contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the economy, the Energy Minister reportedly said during the meeting.

Rob Dobbins of OMV Petrom briefed the caretaker Energy Minister on upcoming steps to continue prospecting in the block. During the discussion it became clear that OMV highly appreciates the potential of the Black Sea block.

It transpired that the company is currently in the process of looking for a new shareholder in the consortium and is considering cooperation with a local company, which was welcomed by the Ministry of Energy.

The contract for oil and gas prospecting in the 1-21 Han Asparuh Block was signed on August 29, 2012 with Total E&P Bulgaria with a five-year term. In 2013, Total was joined by OMV Offshore Bulgaria and Repsol Bulgaria. In 2020, Repsol Bulgaria transferred its stake to the remaining two shareholders. At the beginning of 2024 it became clear that Total is withdrawing from the project.

On July 21, 2023, the Parliament instructed the Minister of Energy to conduct negotiations on the terms and conditions under which Bulgarian Energy Holding (BEH) would acquire up to 20% in the consortium holding the contract for oil and gas exploration and prospecting in 1-21 Khan Asparuh Block.