Romania-based Black Sea Oil & Gas (BSOG) has completed its latest two-well exploration drilling programme in the XV Midia block in the Black Sea, along with its joint venture (JV) partners.

The project used the drilling unit GPS Saturn – a four-legged, self-elevating jack-up rig, which has been deployed in many drilling projects worldwide – in an exploration drilling campaign initially scheduled for the final quarter of 2017.

BSOG drilled the first well, Iulia-1, in May, located 115km offshore Romania at 73m water depth, and drilled up to 2,110m at the Pontian formation. The second well, Paula-1, is located 147km offshore at a water depth of 88m and was drilled up to 1,036m at the Dacian formation.

While Iulia-1 did not encounter any gas-bearing reservoirs in the Upper Pontian region, the volume of dry gas found at Paula-1 did not prove commercially viable for testing.

BSOG chief executive Mark Beacom said: “This offshore drilling campaign demonstrates the risks that are inherent in trying to find gas resources offshore in the Black Sea where the chance of success is no greater than 25%. Successful efforts in this drilling campaign would have not only added gas resources to the country, thereby increasing its security of supply, but also made use of the infrastructure that is being proposed for the Midia Gas Development project (MGD).

“Although the campaign did not deliver the expected gas discoveries, from an operational and HSE point of view, the wells have been successful.”

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Concession holders have been working towards a final investment decision for the MGD well exploration project since 2016. The Romanian Government needs to expedite successful development projects in the Black Sea in order to reap the benefits, including long-term high-quality employment, tax and royalties, and providing energy security for the country.

The plan is to attract other gas-related investments, including gas-fired power generation and petrochemicals industries.

The parliament of Romania will review the offshore law on the request of President Klaus Iohannis in order to address the resolution of regulatory processes, gas market structure, fiscal regime, and stability, to help bring in investments. Last month, the government decided to tax foreign oil and gas companies operating in the black sea to reduce reliance on Russian imports.

BSOG aims to make its final investment decision by the final quarter of this year.