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Largest 3D seismic survey in Black Sea completed on Neptun Deep block

  • More than 6,000 square kilometres covered in survey
  • Drilling rig procured for further exploration drilling on offshore Neptun Deep block

ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited (EMEPRL) and OMV Petrom have successfully completed acquisition of the largest ever Black Sea 3D seismic survey on the Neptun Deep block, covering more than 6,000 square kilometres. The operator for the seismic work was OMV Petrom.

In addition, the two companies have procured the Ocean Endeavor drilling rig to resume exploration drilling on the Neptun Deep block offshore Romania at the end of 2013 or early in 2014.

The Ocean Endeavor drilling rig, owned by Diamond Offshore Drilling Inc., is a semi-submersible designed to drill in water depths up to 2,400 meters and a total drilling depth up to 10,600 meters. EMEPRL is the operator of the drilling program for the deep water sector of Neptun block. Data collected during the seismic campaign and the exploration drilling program will be used to assess the size and commerciality of the Domino discovery, announced in 2012, and the potential of other prospects in the Neptun Deep block.

EMEPRL and OMV Petrom expect to invest up to US $1 billion in the exploration program, which comprises the 3D survey now completed and further exploration and appraisal drilling.

"We remain very encouraged by the Domino discovery and continue to acquire the additional data needed to confirm the size of the resource and its potential commerciality," said John Knapp, managing director, EMEPRL.

"The Neptun Deep block is unique and technically challenging and future development will require very substantial investment over a long time frame. Fiscal stability, long-term energy and regulatory policies and open, transparent access to markets will be important factors in addition to a successful exploration program. We are committed to continuing our technical and exploration studies at the Neptun Deep block, and we highly value the Romanian government’s support of the project. We are proud to assist Romania in exploration and potential development of its offshore resources to the benefit of all involved parties," said Knapp.

Johann Pleininger, member of OMV Petrom Executive Board, responsible for Exploration and Production, said: "We are happy to have carried out successfully the largest 3D seismic acquisition in Romania. The success of this project is of high importance for Petrom and Romania, both from the perspective of increased energy security, as well as from the perspective of economic development. Further investments during appraisal and development phases could reach several billion US dollars and such investments would have a major impact on the Romanian economy."

Cautionary Statement
This news release contains forward‐looking statements. Forward‐l ooking statements can be identified by words such as "anticipates", "intends", "plans", "seeks", "believes", "estimates", "expects" and similar references to future periods. While forward‐looking statements are based on assumptions and analyses made by us that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances, whether actual results and developments will meet our expectations and predictions depend on a number of risks and uncertainties which could cause our actual results, performance, and financial condition to differ materially from our expectations. Any forward‐looking statement made by us in this news release speaks only as of the date on which it is made. Factors or events that could cause our actual results to differ may emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for us to predict all of them. We undertake no obligation to publicly update any forward‐looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future development or otherwise, except as may be required by law.

Background information

Neptun Block (Deep Water Sector)
The Neptun block, Deep Water Sector, covers an area of approximately 9,900 square kilometres in water depths ranging from 50 meters to 1,700 meters. OMV Petrom and ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited signed an agreement in November 2008 for ExxonMobil to acquire a 50% interest in the deep water portion of the Neptun block.

Since then, the two companies have worked closely together to acquire 3D seismic and evaluate the block’s hydrocarbon exploration potential.

In the period 2009-2010, OMV Petrom and ExxonMobil acquired more than 3,000 square kilometres of 3D seismic data on Neptun block, using state of the art technology.

Between December 2011 and March 2012 ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom drilled the Domino–1 well, the first deep water well in Romania, which confirmed the presence of natural gas. Domino 1 well reached a total depth of more than 3,000 meters below sea level.

From November 2012 ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom carried out a second 3D seismic campaign, covering approximately 6,000 square kilometres in the deep water area of Neptun block. 

ExxonMobil Corporation
ExxonMobil, the largest publicly-traded international oil and gas company, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. ExxonMobil holds an industry-leading inventory of resources, is the largest refiner and marketer of petroleum products and its chemical company is one of the largest in the world. ExxonMobil affiliates or predecessor companies have been operating in Romania since 1903. ExxonMobil is highly experienced in deep water exploration.

Petrom Group
Petrom is the largest oil and gas group in South-eastern Europe, with activities in the business segments of Exploration and Production, Gas and Power as well as Refining and Marketing. The Group consolidated its position on the oil market in Southeastern Europe following a far-reaching modernization and efficiency increase process whereas investments accounted for more than EUR 8.8 bn during the last eight years.

As of the end of 2012, the Group exploited proved oil and gas reserves of approximately 775 mn boe in Romania and Kazakhstan (thereof 750 mn boe in Romania). With a maximum annual refining capacity of 4.2 mn t, Petrom is present in the distribution market for oil products in Romania, the Republic of Moldova, Bulgaria and Serbia through a network of approximately 800 filling stations, operated under two brands, Petrom and OMV. In Romania, this activity is performed through OMV Petrom Marketing, 100% owned by OMV Petrom.

For its sustainable development, Petrom has expanded the gas value chain into power. In this context, Petrom started commercial operations of the 860 MW gas fired power plant at Brazi and at the Dorobantu 45 MW wind park.

In 2012, the Group’s turnover was EUR 5,891 mn, EBIT was EUR 1,270 mn.

OMV, Austria’s largest listed industrial company holds a 51.01% share in OMV Petrom. In Exploration and Production, OMV is active in two core countries Romania and Austria and holds a balanced international portfolio. In Gas and Power, OMV sold approximately 437 TWh of gas in 2012. In Refining and Marketing, OMV has an annual refining capacity of 22 mn t and approximately 4,400 filling stations in 13 countries including Turkey as of the end of 2012.

The Ministry of Economy holds 20.64% of OMV Petrom shares, the Property Fund holds 18.99%, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development 1.62% and 7.74% is free float on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.