OMV Petrom has earmarked approximately €32m for the drilling campaign at two new development wells in the shallow waters of the Istria block, in the Black Sea.

The Romanian oil and gas firm started first drilling operation at the fist well at the end of December while the drilling of the second well is planned to commence early this year.

The two wells are planned to be drilled to depths of more than 2,500m below the seabed.

OMV Petrom executive board member responsible for upstream Chris Veit said: “OMV Petrom has had an active presence in the Black Sea for over four decades and, during this period, OMV Petrom demonstrated its important role for the economic development of Romania.

“Using modern technical solutions, we seek to unlock additional resources that can compensate for the decline of domestic production from mature fields.

“The Black Sea has a strategic importance for Romania’s gas production, which currently covers almost 10% of the country’s annual gas consumption.”

Between 2014 and 2019, OMV Petrom invested more than €500m in the offshore production in the shallow waters of the Black Sea.

Work involved drilling of 16 exploration and production wells and sidetracks, as well as upgrade of the production facilities and gas compression system.

Last September, OMV Petrom acquired OMV Offshore Bulgaria, including its 42.9% stake in the Han-Asparuh exploration block in Bulgaria from OMV Exploration & Production.

Covering 13,819km², the Han-Asparuh is located in the western Black Sea, in water depths of 2,000m.

OMV Petrom has exploration, development and production operations in the shallow waters (Istria block) and exploration operations in deepwater areas (Neptun Deep) in partnership with ExxonMobil.