Bulgaria’s Government gave its approval on February 20 for Spanish energy company Repsol to acquire a 20 per cent stake in the oil and gas exploration and production (E&P) rights for the Khan Koubrat 1-14 block on the Bulgarian Black Sea shelf.
The Cabinet awarded a five-year exploration licence for the block, renamed in 2017 and known prior to that as the 1-14 Silistar block, to a Dutch-registered subsidiary of Royal Dutch Shell in February 2016.
The name change, in April 2017, was accompanied by the transfer of the licence to another Shell subsidiary, based in Italy. In December 2018, the Cabinet also approved the transfer of a 30 per cent stake in the E&P rights for Khan Koubrat 1-14 to Australia’s largest oil and gas company, Woodside Energy.
Bulgaria’s energy minister Temenouzhka Petkova was given a mandate to sign an annex to the E&P licence contract to reflect the change, with all associated costs to be born by Shell, the government’s media service said in a statement.
The contract 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 Repsol and Austria’s OMV.
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 and 80 billion cubic metres of gas.