In a few days' time, the Bulgarian government will sign a concession contract with a consortium uniting French Total, Austrian OMV and Spanish Repsol for oil and gas exploration in the Black Sea.
The announcement was made by Prime Minister Boyko Borisov Wednesday, as the government approved the report of Energy and Economy Minister Delyan Dobrev on the concession.
On July 25, the consortium received permission to drill for oil and gas at Block 1-21 Khan Asparuh in Bulgaria's Black Sea continental shelf and exclusive economic zone.
The company will conduct exploration works on an area of 14 000 sq m for five years.
The signing of the contract is expected to be accompanied by a transfer of the due concession fee.
On August 22, the government granted a 5-year exploration permit to Black Sea Energy EOOD for Block 1-19 Sveti Atanas.
The exploration block spans 1318 sq km and is located south of the block where British-based Melrose Resources is currently extracting natural gas, covering 10-15% of Bulgaria's domestic needs.
The minimal program proposed by the firm is worth over EUR 14 M.
"This has been the second Black Sea exploration permit we awarded within a month and we aim to make the most of the country's yet undiscovered resources. We are putting a lot of efforts into it because it is precisely oil and gas exploration that will give us an opportunity to achieve energy independence and more reasonable prices of oil and gas," Delyan Dobrev stated during Wednesday's Cabinet session, as cited by econ.bg.
Dobrev emphasized that Bulgaria had allowed irreversible delays with oil and gas exploration, while Romania had been conducting exploration activities in its Black Sea section for decades.
He noted that the exploration works would be wrapped up in a few years, after which the actual production could start, as long as the results were positive.
Bulgaria's Energy and Economy Minister remarked that the results of the ongoing efforts would grow tangible at the end of the next government's term in office.
Prime Minister Boyko Borisov commented that oil and gas exploration would guarantee the invulnerability of the future generations to the conflicts in the Middle East driving oil and gas prices up.
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