Two Consortia to Drill in Romanian Black Sea Shelf

BUCHAREST (Dow Jones Newswires), July 5, 2010

Two consortia have obtained oil and gas drilling rights in an area of the Black Sea shelf won in 2009 by Romania, after a decades-old spat with Ukraine, the Agency for Mineral Resources, or ANRM, said Monday.

The consortia, made up of Lukoil Overseas-Vanco International, and Melrose Resources-Petromar Resources will drill in two perimeters each, covering a total of 4,000 square kilometers, the agency said.

Several other international groups, including Exxon Mobil, Rompetrol and Repsol, had also taken part in the tender.

Kiev and Bucharest argued for years over the boundary of the Black Sea's continental shelf, a maritime area said to contain oil and gas.

In 2004, Romania took the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the United Nations's highest court.

In February 2009, the court handed Bucharest 80%, or 9,700 square kilometers, of the disputed area, a 12,400-square-kilometer zone south of the Serpents' Island.

Romanian experts have said this area in the northwestern part of the Black Sea may contain 100 billion cubic meters of gas.

However, the ANRM said five to six years of exploration as well as several dozen million euros in investments would be needed before these resources can be exploited.

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