Romania: ExxonMobil and Petrom spud Romania’s first deepwater well
11 Jan 2012
ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited (EEPRL), an affiliate of ExxonMobil, together with Petrom, has started exploration drilling on Domino-1, the first deepwater exploration well in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea.
The Domino-1 well is located in the Neptun Block, 170 kms offshore in water about 1,000 meters deep and will be drilled using state-of-the-art industry technology. The well is being drilled by the world-class, sixth generation drillship, Deepwater Champion, which recently transited to Romanian waters after completing its drilling program offshore Turkey. Drilling operations are expected to take about 90 days.
'We are very pleased to collaborate with Petrom in this project – a collaboration built upon ExxonMobil’s experience as a leader in deepwater exploration and Petrom’s vast experience in Romania. We highly value the efforts of the Romanian authorities for supporting the progress of the deepwater Black Sea exploration program,' said Ian A. Fischer, Managing Director of EEPRL.
Exploration drilling, especially in such frontier, unexplored areas as the deepwater Black Sea, may or may not result in a discovery. If commercial discoveries are made, the development of the Neptun Block would yield significant positive industrial, social and economic benefits for Romania.
'Together with our partner ExxonMobil, we are developing a unique project for Romania. Deepwater exploration carries high investment risks and requires investments of several hundred million U.S. dollars, yet a potential success would fundamentally change the perspective of the Romanian energy sector,' said Johann Pleininger, Petrom’s Executive Board Member responsible for Exploration & Production.
The Neptun Block covers an area of approx. 9,900 sq km in water depths ranging from 50m to 1,700m. ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania and Petrom signed an agreement in November 2008 for ExxonMobil to acquire a 50 percent 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 2009-2010, Petrom and ExxonMobil acquired more than 3,000 sq kms of 3D seismic data of the Neptun Block, using state of the art technology - the largest seismic program ever undertaken in Romania.
Deepwater Champion was constructed in South Korea and specially designed to facilitate entry into and out of the Black Sea. The vessel is dual derrick capable of a variety of simultaneous operations to improve efficiency. The double-hulled vessel is self-propelled and capable of holding its position in open water with 9 meter (30 feet) waves and 60 knot (70 miles per hour) winds.