Bulgaria: Hydrocarbon exploration permit extended for offshore block

, SEE Energy News

The hydrocarbon exploration permit for the 1-21 Khan Asparuh offshore block in the Black Sea is extended by Bulgarian Government by to years, namely to 15 May 2022.

In addition, the Government allowed Spanish company Repsol to withdrew from the project and transfer its 30 % stake to other two participants in the project – Total E&P Bulgaria and OMV Offshore Bulgaria. As a result of this change, Total now holds 57.14 % stake in the block, while OMV holds the remaining 42.86 %.

Last year, the Government already granted 109-day extension for the Khan Asparuh block exploration license, as a result of force majeure without disclosing any details.

In November 2018, Total Exploration & Production Bulgaria announced that it has started drilling of the third exploration well in 1-21 Khan Asparuh offshore block in the Black Sea. Total holds 40 % interest in Bulgarian Khan Asparuh block, while OMV and Repsol hold 30 % each. Last March, Bulgarian Government extended the exploration license for the block by additional two years, during which some 3 million euros would be invested in exploration activities.

Khan Asparuh block has a total area of 14,220 square kilometers and it is located some 80 kilometers from the Bulgarian coast, with water depth between 100 and 2,000 meters. According to the agreement signed with the consortium of French Total, Austrian OMV Group and Spanish Repsol, exploration drillings were supposed to start in 2014, but were postponed due to a decline in crude oil prices. The consortium of three companies obtained 5-year hydrocarbon exploration concession in international tender in 2012, which is valid through August 2017. According to previous estimations, the natural gas reserves in Khan Asparuh block stand at 100 billion cubic meters. The consortium plans to invest over 200 million euros in the project.