OMV Petrom Accelerates Investments in Black Sea Gas Project, Targets 2027 Production

(Reuters) — Romania's OMV Petrom will ramp up investments to roughly 8 billion lei ($1.74 billion) a year for the next three years, driven by its Neptun Deep offshore gas project in the Black Sea and renewable power projects, its CEO said on Thursday.

The oil and gas group invested 4.7 billion lei in 2023.

The Neptun Deep Black Sea gas project, one of the European Union's most significant natural gas deposits, is expected to cost 4 billion euros ($4.3 billion). OMV Petrom is developing it with state-owned gas producer Romgaz.

OMV Petrom CEO Christina Verchere said that with over 80% of the main project contracts awarded, she saw no change in the project's cost and deadline at present.

"Our goal remains very much to bring the Neptun gas onshore in 2027, and we are on track to do that," she told Reuters in an interview.

Gas producers have said there is huge potential for further gas discoveries in Romania's Black Sea, where the European Union state has an estimated 200 billion cubic meters of reserves that promise to help diversify supply in the region.

Verchere said OMV Petrom's operations in the Black Sea continued as usual despite the war in Ukraine.

"In that regard there is an aspect of operations as usual, I think it's fair to say there is a lot of good dialogue with the authorities with regards to ensuring that continues that way."

"Likewise, we are also an importer of crude, so cargoes are coming into Constanta Port and that is continuing as usual for us too."

She also said OMV Petrom was not impacted by attacks in the Red Sea, as the company's crude imports came mainly from Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan.

The company, which also has a gas-fired power plant that accounted for 12% of Romania’s power mix in 2023, has announced plans to develop over 2 gigawatts of solar and wind power, which together with Neptun Deep will drive record-high investment.

"Obviously, you've got in there the ramp up of Neptun, but we've been actually very active in our low and zero carbon opportunities," Verchere said. "We're a power company already, but now we're building a green power position as well of that."

($1 = 4.6097 lei)

($1 = 0.9269 euros)

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