Royal Dutch Shell concluded exploration activities on Bulgaria’s Black Sea shelf last month, where it holds the licence for the 1-14 Silistar block, which covers about 6900 square km of Bulgaria’s Black Sea economic area, reports in Bulgarian media said on February 28.
The company will analyse the data collected during the initial survey over a period of six months, but Shell’s venture lead for Bulgaria, Alexander Kayes, was quoted as saying that the initial results were “encouraging”.
Shell signed the contract to explore for oil and gas in the Silistar block in February 2016, committing to invest 18.6 million euro in exploration. The five-year permit can be extended twice, by two years each time, Bulgarian officials said at the time.
The deal with Shell is the second major offshore exploration contract signed by Bulgaria in recent years. In 2012, it awarded an exploration permit for the Khan Asparoukh 1-21 block on the Bulgarian Black Sea shelf to a consortium led by France’s Total, which also included Austria’s OMV and Spain’s Repsol.
In October 2016, Total said in its third-quarter earnings report that it found oil on Bulgaria’s Black Sea shelf, but gave no further details beyond a single mention that it was “opening a new play”.
Bulgaria hopes to find extensive offshore reserves of oil, gas and condensate, possibly on par with those on the nearby Romanian sea-shelf, where reserves are estimated to range between 40 billion cubic metres of gas and 80 billion cubic metres.