The largest natural gas project in the Romanian Black Sea

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The Neptun Deep, a deep-water offshore gas field development project located in the Romanian deep-water sector of the Black Sea, is the largest natural gas project in the Romanian Black Sea.

The project is developed by OMV Petrom and Societatea Națională de Gaze Naturale Romgaz SA Mediaș or simply Romgaz. OMV Petrom is a Romanian integrated oil company controlled by Austria’s OMV and one of the largest corporations in Romania. OMV Petrom is also the largest oil and gas producer in Southeast Europe. Romgaz on the other hand is the largest natural gas producer in Romania and one of the largest producers in Eastern Europe.

The project involves the development of two fields, the Domino and Pelican South commercial natural gas fields. The Domino field is located at a water depth of approximately 1,000 meters, while the shallower Pelican South is located at 120 meters water depth.

The associated infrastructure includes a total of ten wells, three subsea production systems, and associated flow lines, as well as an offshore platform, the main natural gas pipeline to Tuzla, and a natural gas measurement station.

Domino field will have the most wells, six, which will be tied to two subsea production systems. The rest, four wells, will be developed at the Pelican South field and they will tied to one subsea production system.

Neptun deep-water offshore gas field project timeline

OMV Petrom and ExxonMobil formed a joint venture (JV) in 2008 for the exploration or rather development of the Neptun Block. Since the formation of the JV, two 3D acquisition campaigns, two exploration drilling campaigns and two exploration drilling programmes were carried out in the block at a cost of more than €1.5bn.

The first natural gas was discovered back in 2012 by the first deepwater well, Domino-1, during the first drilling campaign. During the second drilling campaign that took place in 2014-2015, seven wells were drilled including Pelican South-1 which led to the discovery of the Pelican South field.

In 2019, ExxonMobil announced its plan to exit the Neptun Deep project. The company then signed an agreement to sell its Romanian upstream affiliate, ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania, to Romgaz in May 2022 for more than US$ 1bn.

As it stands, OMV Petrom and Romgaz each hold a 50% interest in the project. However, OMV Petrom became the operator of the Neptun deep offshore project in August 2022. In December 2022, the JV submitted the declaration of a commercial discovery of the Domino and Pelican Sourth reservoir to the Romanian National Agency for Mineral Resources.

They took the final investment decision (FID) to develop the Domino and Pelican South natural gas fields in the Neptun Deep project in June 2023. In August 2023, the Development Plan for the Domino and Pelican South fields was endorsed by Romania’s National Agency for Mineral Resources.

In April 202, OMV Petrom appointed global energy and marine consultancy ABL Group to provide Marine Warranty Survey (MWS) services. Drilling activities are expected to begin in 2024 and the first gas is expected to be achieved in 2027.

Once operational, the Neptun Deep, will produce around 8 billion cubic metres (bcm) of natural gas annually at plateau (~140,000 boe/d) for nearly ten years.

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