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OMVPetrom: Black Sea gas can help Romania's economic recovery, yet offshore law delayed

Black Sea gas can help Romania's post-pandemic economic recovery, but changes to the Offshore Law are delayed, which erodes the economic foundation of this project, said OMV Petrom CEO Christina Verchere in an interview with Agerpres..

ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom are equal partners in the Neptun Deep Black Sea offshore project, where a gas deposit evaluated at 42-84 billion cubic meters was found. By comparison, Romania's annual production is 10-11 billion cubic meters of gas.  The key to unlocking the Black Sea projects lies in the legislation that provides clarity, competitive tax conditions and stability. These are the prerequisites for any large-scale investment.  'We continue to make every effort to develop this project. However, the final investment decision depends on several key premises, including the Offshore Law, where we see no progress. Any delay erodes the economic foundations of the project, Verchere said.

Christina Verchere explained that these represent new sources of income valued at 1.2 billion euro per year in the production stages, new jobs, but also a domestic resource that could support the development of other related industries, such as petrochemistry or transport, thus generating economic growth.

At the same time, the Neptune Deep project would attract multibillion-dollar investment in the extraction phase, while exploration alone required 1.5 billion dollars.

The OMV Petrom CEO's statements come at a time when investors' tone for starting the project is becoming increasingly pessimistic. Whereas in previous years, deadlines were advanced for the final investment decision, Exxon has recently announced that it wants to withdraw from the project, and OMV Petrom representatives say that they will not wait endlessly for the Romanian authorities to make a decision on the fiscal framework.