London — Romania's OMV Petrom on June 29 confirmed it had won a tender for a Black Sea exploration license offshore Georgia, but said the final award would depend on the successful negotiation of a production sharing agreement.
OMV Petrom -- majority owned by Austria's OMV -- took part in an international tender held by the Georgian economy ministry as the company looks to expand its upstream activity in the Black Sea.
The ministry on June 25 announced the result, but OMV Petrom at the time said it was yet to receive official notification.
On June 29, OMV Petrom confirmed in a statement it had been selected as the winner of the tender for offshore Block II.
"The block will be formally awarded only if negotiation of a production sharing contract is successfully finalized," it said.
OMV Petrom upstream chief Peter Zeilinger said the block would be part of the company's strategy to expand its upstream activities in the Black Sea region.
"This is another milestone, after signing a contract to enter the Han Asparuh exploration license offshore Bulgaria," Zeilinger said.
OMV Petrom is set to buy the Bulgarian subsidiary of its parent OMV under an agreement signed in December 2019, giving OMV Petrom the share owned by OMV in the consortium holding the license to the Han Asparuh block offshore Bulgaria.
The closure of the transaction is expected in mid-2020.
OMV Petrom also has a 50% share of the ExxonMobil-operated Neptun gas discovery in the Romanian sector of the Black Sea. Neptun, which is estimated to hold up to 84 Bcm of gas, remains undeveloped due to concerns over the regulatory framework in Romania.
Exploration has been widely carried out in the Black Sea by the other littoral states Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and Turkey.
"Georgia is the only country in the Black Sea basin where exploration is not underway," the state oil and gas agency said.
Local onshore gas production in Georgia currently accounts for less than 0.5% of annual consumption -- which is around 2.5 Bcm/year -- with the remainder imported.
Georgia hopes to boost production in the coming years to reduce its import dependence, replicating the successes of gas exploration in the Black Sea particularly by Romania and Ukraine.