SOFIA, May 6 (Reuters) - U.S. oil firm Anadarko Petroleum plans to take part in tenders for deepwater gas and oil exploration in Bulgaria's Black Sea waters, a Bulgarian senior official said on Wednesday.
Bulgaria, eager to reduce its near total dependence on Russian gas, has opened tenders for exploration of two blocks in its Black Sea waters and expects bids in September.
Delyan Dobrev, head of the energy parliamentary commission, met with Anadarko's head for international negotiations, Eric Fry, during an oil and gas conference in Houston.
"Anadarko plans to participate in the tenders," Dobrev said in a statement after the meeting.
Statoil and Exxon Mobil have said they will consider bidding in the tenders for the Silistar and Teres offshore blocks which cover an area of 7,000 and 4,000 square kilometres respectively.
The two are close to the Neptune block in Romanian Black Sea waters, where Austria's OMV's has said it could produce up to 84 billion of cubic metres of gas.
Royal Dutch Shell and the Turkish Petroleum Corporation have also started deepwater exploration in Turkish waters of the Black Sea, just a few kilometres from the Silistar and Teres blocks, Dobrev said.
This, and initial soft tests of the two blocks has raised Bulgaria's hopes of finding oil and gas deposits and diversifying its gas supplies which are currently come almost entirely from Russian gas exporter Gazprom.
The Balkan country hopes to issue 5-year permits for exploratory drilling.
France's Total along with Austria's OMV and Spain's Repsol are expected to start drilling for oil and gas in the Han Asparuh offshore block, Bulgaria's largest, in the first quarter of 2016.
(Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Jason Neely)
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