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Bulgaria eyes oil and gas exploration in the Black Sea, following Total’s withdrawal

Prospects for the exploration of oil and gas in Block 1-21 Han Asparuh, located in Bulgaria’s exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea, following the withdrawal of French Total from the project, were a key topic of discussion between Energy Minister Vladimir Malinov and representatives of Romania’s OMV Petrom.

“For the Bulgarian side, potential local extraction is key to achieving the objectives of diversifying energy sources,” said Minister Malinov. “The development of a local deposit would ensure the country’s energy security and independence and contribute to increasing the competitiveness of the economy. Continuing research in potentially promising fields such as Han Asparuh is a condition for the effective achievement of these goals.”

Rob Dobbins, Head of International Relations and Asset Management of OMV Petrom, briefed the energy minister on the upcoming steps to continue the prospecting activities in the Block. In the course of the discussions, it became clear that OMV highly appreciates the potential of the Han Asparuh Block in the Black Sea. The company is currently searching for a new shareholder in the consortium and is considering cooperation with a local company as well, which was welcomed by the Ministry of Energy.

The contract for the prospection and exploration of oil and natural gas in Block 1-21 Han Asparuh was signed with Total E&P Bulgaria on 29 August 2012 and had a five-year duration. In 2013, OMV Offshore Bulgaria and Repsol Bulgaria joined Total. In 2020 Repsol Bulgaria transferred its stake to the remaining two shareholders, Total E&P Bulgaria and OMV Offshore Bulgaria. At the beginning of this year, it was announced that Total had withdrawn from the project.

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