Рубрика | Oilreview

Black Sea expeditions

The chronicles of the development of offshore oil and gas fields in the Black Sea

There has been a consistent trend recently: as soon as news breaks about the activity of foreign oil and gas companies offshore in the Black Sea, or problems in gas talks with Russia emerge, Ukrainian state officials announce plans to send expeditions to the Black Sea to search for energy treasures. What has changed in the development of the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea shelf?

Much has changed, while at the same time nothing has changed. All of the enthusiasm of state officials has gone into loud statements about the enormous potential of the Ukrainian part of the Black Sea shelf – which was just talk. They talk about plans and prospects, and sign non-binding memoranda on geological prospecting and possible cooperation in joint production, and that’s all. After this, the activity of the Ukrainian side dies out, prospects for getting foreign investment for the development of the Black Sea shelf fade, and the probability of getting access to modern offshore drilling technologies drops…

The previous Black Sea expedition took place last autumn. In late September 2011, the Ukrainian government signed memoranda with a number of the world’s leading oil companies on the joint development of the Black Sea shelf. But their implementation plans were shelved. Representatives of foreign companies with huge experience of working with the Ukrainian authorities might have advised their colleagues against rushing forward with offers.

Russia’s intransigence in the gas price negotiations and Romania’s activity in its Black Sea offshore sector forced the Ukrainian government to organize a new crusade for the energy treasures of the Black Sea. And official ‘Cossacks’ from the State Service of Geology and Deposits of Ukraine set sail for the shores of Brazil, as Europe had had enough of talks about the prospects of the Ukrainian shelf. But all they got was assurance from Brazilian state-owned Petroleo Brasileiro SA (Petrobras) that it would take measures to investigate that issue. Probably it has learned a lesson from its previous experience, and that of European companies that signed memoranda last fall. They could be also cautious due to excessively optimistic estimates given by the officials about the wealth of the Ukrainian section of the Black Sea shelf.

According to estimates of NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy’s management, the reserves of fuel equivalent in Ukraine’s Black Sea shelf stand at more than six billion tonnes…

You can read full article in  journal «Terminal: Oil Review» №17 (603) 30 Apr 2012

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