U.S. oil and gas group ExxonMobil wants to pull out of the offshore gas project in Romania, local G4Media.ro reported on Monday.
Representatives of U.S. group ExxonMobil informed the Romanian Government and the National Agency for Mineral Resources – ANRM that they want to give access to other companies to information about the gas exploitation project in the Black Sea and eventually sell the license, government and oil industry sources told G4media.ro. Richard Tasker, country manager of ExxonMobil’s operations in Romania, met with prime minister Viorica Dancila on Friday.
The Government hasn’t provided any details about the meeting with ExxonMobil representatives. ExxonMobil declined to comment.
According to G4Media.ro, Romanian oil and gas group OMV Petrom, which has a 50:50 joint venture with ExxonMobil for the Neptun Deep project, may be interested in taking over the U.S. group’s stake. U.S. investment fund Carlyle, which is in a more advanced phase with another, smaller, gas exploitation project in the Black Sea, through local company Black Sea Oil & Gas, is also reportedly interested in Exxon’s stake.
ExxonMobil has invested some USD 700 million in the Neptun Deep project in Romania’s Black Sea section, which went mainly in drilling several exploration wells in the perimeter. The reserves in this perimeter are estimated at between 42 and 84 billion cubic meters of gas, based on preliminary estimates released in 2012. This is the equivalent of between 3- and 6-times Romania’s yearly gas consumption, making it the biggest gas project in the Black Sea.
ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom were supposed to decide on moving on with the commercial exploitation of this project by the end of 2018 but delayed their decision due to changes to the offshore law and new taxes the Government levied on the energy industry.
ExxonMobil’s involvement in the Black Sea was regarded as a strategic American investment in the region.