ExxonMobil Sells Its Shares in Black Sea Deepwater Gas Project to Romgaz

ExxonMobil has reached an agreement with the Romanian state-run natural gas producer Romgaz to sell its share in an offshore perimeter in the Black Sea, where significant gas discoveries have been made, Euractiv reports.

The US multinational oil and gas corporation’s Romanian arm ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Holdings Ltd. (EMEPRL) has jointly operated the perimeter of the Neptun Block that covers an area of some 7,500 square kilometers in water depths ranging from 100 to 1,700 meters, with OMV Petrom since 2008.

While EMEPRL was the operator, both companies held 50% each of the rights and obligations under the concession agreement for petroleum exploration, development and production in XIX Neptun Deep Block.

Romgaz, a company in which the Romanian government holds a 70% stake, has bought EMEPRL, after its decision to invest in exploiting the natural gas resources found in the Black Sea was delayed by the changes to Romanian oil and gas legislation.

Though the value of the deal wasn’t disclosed, it is known that Romgaz applied for a 1.6 billion lei ($375 million/323 million euro) bank credit to finance the acquisition and cover its current working capital needs.

According to Ziarul Financiar’s estimates, Romgaz, who had in its accounts liquid assets worth EUR 640 mln in government securities and bank deposits at the end of June, will pay around close to EUR 1 bln for the 50% stake.

The two companies entered exclusive negotiations in June 2021 and the transaction is expected to be finalized in the first quarter of 2022.

Neptun Deep is the second offshore gas project in the Black Sea in which Romgaz bought a stake in since it already holds 12.2% interest in offshore joint venture exploration perimeter EX Trident.  The remaining 87.8% interest in the venture holds Lukoil Overseas Atash BV, a subsidiary of Russia’s Lukoil.

Romgaz, one of the largest natural gas producers in the EU, and OMV Petrom are now jointly covering around 90% of the gas production in Romania.

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