After Transocean, Halliburton snaps up multi-million job on giant gas project in Black Sea

South-Eastern Europe’s integrated energy company OMV Petrom and Romgaz, Romania’s producer and main supplier of natural gas, have made inroads in securing contractors and putting things in place to bring a giant deepwater natural gas project in the Black Sea to life by awarding more than 80% of the required execution agreements. To this end, Halliburton Romania, a subsidiary of the U.S.-based Halliburton, has been picked for integrated drilling services.

Transocean Barents sixth-generation semi-submersible drilling rig; Source: Transocean

To implement the Neptun Deep gas development project, which was recently greenlighted by Romania’s National Agency for Mineral Resources, OMV Petrom inked a contract of approximately EUR 140 million (nearly $151.1 million) with Halliburton Energy Services Romania for the provision of integrated drilling services together with Newpark Drilling Fluids Eastern Europe. Halliburton’s international and local teams in Romania will be deployed on a wide range of services such as cementing, directional drilling, and well completions.

This is in addition to the previously announced multi-million deal for the Transocean Barents semi-submersible drilling rig with Transocean and EUR 1.6 billion (close to $1.73 billion) contract with Saipem for the offshore facilities, along with other smaller contracts. The agreement for the sixth-generation semi-submersible drilling rig includes crew and associated services, products, equipment, and materials. The rig’s mobilization to the Black Sea is scheduled to start towards the end of 2024, with drilling activities planned for 2025. Ten wells are expected to be drilled.

Christina Verchere, OMV Petrom CEO, commented: “With the award of the drilling rig and integrated drilling services agreements, OMV Petrom has now secured more than 80% of the execution agreements required to deliver the Neptun Deep project. We are working with reputed international contractors and suppliers, who have the skills and experience to deliver this complex project.

“We also count on the experience of our local suppliers, who have specific knowledge of the Romanian environment so that we get the best possible outcome for Neptun Deep project. Our most important objective is to start production safely and on budget in 2027, together with our partner Romgaz, and to support Romania in its transition to become the largest natural gas producer in the EU.”

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With the recent deals, OMV Petrom and Romgaz are on track to deliver the first gas from Neptun Deep in 2027 and the project remains within the up to EUR 4 billion (almost $4.31 billion) guidance for total investment. This project is considered to be Romania’s first deepwater project and “the largest natural gas project” in the Romanian area of the Black Sea.

Furthermore, the infrastructure required for the development of two fields – Domino and Pelican South – comprises three subsea production systems, one at Pelican South, and two at Domino, with the associated flow lines and umbilicals, a shallow water offshore gas platform, the main natural gas pipeline to shore at Tuzla and a natural gas metering station.

According to OMV Petrom, the offshore platform will generate its own power, operating at the highest standards of safety and environmental protection, and the wells and fields will be operated remotely, through a digital twin.

Natural reservoir energy will be used to transport the gas to shore, eliminating the need for gas compression, which combined with other design features, ensures that emissions from the Neptun Deep development will be kept to a minimum and below industry norms. 

The agreement with Saipem and Saipem Romania SRL is for the management, engineering, procurement, fabrication, assembly, maritime transportation, installation, testing, and commissioning services for the offshore facilities of the Neptun Deep project.

This deal includes the testing and commissioning of the gas metering station and the near shore and onshore sections of the gas production pipeline. The offshore operations will be performed by the Saipem 7000 and JSD 6000 vessels.

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Recently, Corinth Pipeworks, the steel pipe segment of Cenergy Holdings, was also hired to manufacture and supply the pipeline for OMV Petrom’s Black Sea project. Located at about 160 km from the shore, in waters between 100 and 1,000 meters, the Neptun Deep block in the Black Sea covers an area of ​​7,500 square km.

Since 2008, the exploration activities in the Neptun Deep block have included two 3D seismic acquisition campaigns and two exploration drilling programs. The first natural gas discovery at the block was made in 2012.

The carbon footprint of this project is expected to be better than the industry benchmark, as at plateau production, a carbon footprint of around 2.2 kg CO2/boe is anticipated which is below the industry average of 16.7 kg CO2/boe.