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Romgaz is sole bidder for ExxonMobil’s stake in Black Sea project

Romgaz (SNG), backed by the Government, is the only bidder for the 50% stake held by the US group ExxonMobil in local offshore gas perimeter Neptun Deep, Ziarul Financiar reported.


The US company has already invested USD 750 million as the perimeter operator in partnership with Romanian group OMV Petrom.While a deal is becoming increasingly likely, it remains unclear which of the two partners will manage the project.While Romgaz should, in principle, "inherit" the role from Exxon, some question its experience in offshore projects.


Sources familiar with the deal hinted that the Romanian state-owned company would be given the leading role in the project for political reasons - to gain the support of the Social Democrat opposition that is in principle more supportive to state-owned, national enterprises.


Energy minister Virgil Popescu recently stated that Romgaz could manage the project. However, some experts express concerns about the pace of the development of the project in case Romgaz would take over as the operator. "It is very important to see who will be the operator of the whole project.


ExxonMobil clearly had the experience to manage the investment. With the Americans, Neptun Deep could have been completed within three years after making an investment decision. However, Romgaz's experience is related to onshore production, which could raise certain problems," said people familiar with the project.