Romanian offshore area covers 22,000 square kilometers and reaches depths beyond 1000 m. The whole area is divided in blocks of different sizes, some of them being awarded to operators for exploration, development and exploitation activities.
In Romania, discussions and prospects related to offshore oil and gas activities were first initiated in 1967-1969 with the purpose of enhancing the national oil and gas production through potential offshore drilling and exploitation of the Black Sea continental platform.
In 1975, the first offshore drilling platform was set on position on the continental platform of the Black Sea. The first location, well 1 Ovidiu East, had water depths of 84 m, while the platform was designed for maximum water depth of 90 m and maximum wave height of 12 m. The well reached a depth of 5,006 m and collected a sample rich in geological information, but there was not significant signs of oil. A second borehole was drilled in XV Midia block with another unsuccessful result. This has led to the third location, in XVIII Istria block. Called Lebada (the Swan), the field is in an area with water depths of 50 m, approximately 80 km N-E of Constanta. Here, crude oil was discovered in significant quantities.
The first Black Sea oil production occurred in 1987, with Lebada East field.
The first international petroleum tender organized by the Romanian state took place in 1990. State owned Rompetrol called for bids for 12 onshore blocks and 3 blocks in the Black Sea. Two of the three blocks (XIII Pelican and XV Midia) have been awarded in 1992 to the British based company Enterprise Oil Exploration Ltd. and Canadian based Canadian Occidental Petroleum Ltd. The Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) provided a 5-year exploration period and a work program of $21 million.
In 1993, the production is started at Lebada West field followed by Sinoe (production started in 1999), Pescarus (production started in 2003) and Delta in XVIII Istria Block (production started in 2009). They represent the oldest discoveries in the Romanian Black Sea.
Together, they accounted for 185 million barrels of oil, 8 million barrels of condensate and 48 bcm of gas. Due to their long history exploitation, the oil and condensate reserves are almost depleted, while the remaining gas resources are around 6 bcm, according to market reports.
In 2007 EPSA was aligned to the Romanian legislation governing the conduct of petroleum operations and was converted into a Concession Agreement.
In XV Midia Shallow block, two relevant discoveries were made: Doina (in 1995) and Ana (in 2007). Together, they hold recoverable resources of 10 bcm of gas.
In March 2012, OMV Petrom S.A. and Exxon Mobil Exploration and Production Romania Ltd. (as Operator) announced that, through the Domino 1 well, recoverable resources of gas have been discovered in the Neptun Deep block. Published estimates range between 42 and 84 billion cubic meters (bcm).
In 2014, a small discovery was announced in XVIII Istria block, Marina field, with a production potential of 1,500-2,000 barrels of oil equivalent (boe)/day.
In October 2015, Lukoil, PanAtlantic and Romgaz have also announced the discovery of an important gas field in EX-30 Trident block. According to the seismic data and following the analysis of the data obtained during the drilling, the preliminary results indicate reserves that exceed 30 bcm of natural gas.
Currently, around 8% of crude and condensate is produced offshore, whereas the rest comes from onshore. Crude oil production in 2016 was around 27 million barrels, while total consumption exceeded 82 million barrels.
In February 2019, the final investment decision was taken for the MGD Project and production is expected to begin in 2021.
In EX-27 Muridava block, the exploration has shown possible quantities of 4.85 bcm of gas and 11.7 million barrels of oil.
The explorations in EX-28 EST Cobalcescu, EX-29 EST Rapsodia, XV Midia Deep water blocks did not show any commercially viable quantities to date.