Sterling sells Black Sea gas prospect to ExxonMobil, OMV
Friday, 19 October 2012
BUCHAREST: The Canadian oil and gas company Sterling said Friday that it has sold a portion of a gas prospect it holds in the Romanian part of the Black Sea to US's ExxonMobil and Austria's OMV Petrom.
The sale should earn Sterling between $29.25 million and $78 million, subject in part to governmental approvals, the company said.
"The sale portion is on the southeastern margin of the block, in deeper waters and covers 125,000 gross acres, or 11 percent of the total area" held by Sterling, it added.
The field is adjacent to ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom's deep-water Neptun block, where the two companies earlier this year said they had made a major gas discovery.
"This carve-out and sale of an area in deeper waters allows us to focus on the development and exploration of fields and prospects in shallower waters, where drilling and construction should be less expensive," said Mike Azancot, Sterling's President and CEO.
"This transaction is additional evidence of the rapidly growing industry interest in the Romanian Black Sea as a new hydrocarbon region where Sterling has a material presence," he added.
In February, ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom said they had discovered a potentially "significant" natural gas field off the Romanian coast.
Preliminary estimates, recently confirmed by Petrom's CEO Mariana Gheorghe, indicate a potential of 42 to 84 billion cubic meters of gas, which would amount to eight times Romania's current annual gas production.
But the two companies said it was too soon to say if the gas field could be commercially developed.
The bloc is part of an area awarded in 2009 to Romania by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) after a decades-old dispute with Ukraine.
Experts say the 9,700-sq.km. (6,000 square miles) area recovered by Romania might contain up to 100 billion cubic meters of gas and 10 million tonnes of oil. (AFP)