Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

OIL COMPANIES INTERSTED IN BULGARIAN BLACK SEA ECONOMIC ZONE

The deep-water part of the Bulgarian economic Black Sea zone has been recently an object of heightened interst on the part of big oil companies. The US Hunt Oil stood in the lead. Through its representative in Bulgaria Jana Djambazova from KPMG the Americans filed to the Ministry of Environment and Waters an application for a permission to prospect for oil and gas in compliance with the Natural Resources Act. Hunt Oil applied for exploring within a huge aquatory, spreading on more than 20,000 sq. m in the central and southern parts of the Bulgarian Black Sea economic zone. The Americans have already purchased the necessary information from the National Geofund and are already waiting for the issuance of a permission. Hunt Oil was established some 80 years ago. It is presently among the top oil companies worldwide and explores huge deposits mainly in the North Sea and South America.Another well-known company - the Austrian OMV - has also announced its willingness to prospect for oil and gas in the Bulgarian Black Sea economic zone. It has not yet filed an application, but is expected to do this within a few days. OMV's representatives have taken steps to buy information from the National Geofund. After studying the information, the company will localize its interests in a specific part of the aquatory.OMV stepped into Bulgaria back in 1991, taking part in the first international licensing tender in Central and Eastern Europe when companies were chosen to prospect for oil and gas on Bulgarian territory. OMV then won 10% of the former III-91 Galata block in the Bulgarian Black Sea shelf. The British Enterprise Oil and the US Texaco each held 20% of the same block. Later on the three companies sold their shares in the block and the gas deposit found in it to Petreco S.A.R.L., registered in Luxemburg.The Bulgarian energy market, however, continued to be attractive for the strategic plans of the agressive Austrian concern, set up in 1955. OMV registered a subsidiary in Bulgaria for bidding in the tender procedure for the privatisation of Petrol AD.The most puzzling but not less insistent interest is that, shown on the part of the British consultants QVD, which appeared as representing the interests of a big American oil company (which has so far demanded to remain anonymous). The Ministry of Environment and Waters explains that by the anti-American feelings after the terrorist attacks against the USA on September 11.All prospects in the Bulgarian Black Sea deep-waters so far have shown considerable oil and gas deposits - pre-estimated at some 400,000,000 t of petrol equivalent - which would be sufficient to ensure petrol to the country for about fifty years.

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