Derrick Digest for June 23, 2017: Talks begin with SOCAR on supply for Balkan gas hub

2017.06.23 Derrick Digest SOCAR

Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz discussing free volumes of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2

Talks are underway between Bulgaria’s Bulgartransgaz and Azerbaijan’s state oil company SOCAR on the volume of gas supplies to a proposed Balkan natural gas hub at the Black Sea port of Varna.

“The Bulgarian company is in talks on using the part of the free volumes of gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz 2. This is about three billion cubic meters from the second phase of development of the field,” said Bulgaria’s Deputy Energy Minister Zhecho Stankov.

Of the possible 16 billion cubic metres of gas produced by the Shah Deniz 2 project, 10 billion are slated for Europe through the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) with the remaining six billion scheduled for Turkey. Bulgaria will receive gas from the Caspian Sea region through the Interconnector Greece-Bulgaria (IGB).

“The project is on track. All land acquisition procedures in the country have been completed and the permit for the pipeline’s construction in Bulgaria is expected to be issued in the third quarter of 2017,” said Teodora Georgieva, executive officer at ICGB AD joint venture company.

IGB is expected to be connected to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) via which gas from the Shah Deniz field will be delivered to the European markets. The initial capacity of IGB will be 3 billion cubic meters of gas.

BP reports that Shah Deniz 2 Stage 2 is more than "92% complete in terms of engineering, procurement and construction and remains on taget for first gas . . . in 2018." Shah Deniz gas will travel 3,500 kilometres, to elevations of over 2,500 metres, and more than 800 metres below the sea. 

 

Romania’s OMV Petrom invests $5M Euro in fuel testing lab

OMV Petrom [BSE:SNP] is modernizing its fuel quality test centre at its Petrobrazi refinery in Romania to the tune of $5 million Euros ($7.4 million Cdn).

Following the upgrade, the facility will have three labs that test petroleum products and one that is dedicated to water environment testing, the company said in a press release. Testing will include the content of water, sulphur levels and the filterability temperature of diesel, which indicates the lowest temperature diesel engines can run on the fuel without issue.

The latest investment follows an announcement in February that the company would spend $60M Euro ($88.5 million Cdn) to convert the refinery’s LPG components into petro and middle distillates. The unit is expected to be up and running in 2019.

The facility, which was privatized in 2005, has a refining capacity of 4.5 million tonnes per year and the ability to process all of OMV Petrom’s crude production in Romania. To date, the company has invested $1.2 billion Euro ($1.8 billion) in the facility in Ploietsi in southern Romania.

 

Total to start second drilling of Bulgarian offshore block this autumn

Total will conduct a second drilling for oil and gas in the 1.21 Han Asparuh offshore exploration block this fall, according to Bulgaria’s energy ministry.

In October, Total said it discovered oil in the block, located in the western part of the Black Sea with water depths up to 2,200 metres. Total is processing seismic data from exploration block. A 3D seismic survey conducted in 2014 covered 7,740 sq. km, following a 2D seismic survey in 2013 that covered 3,000 km.

The French company, Austria’s OMV and Spain’s Repsol hold a permit to explore oil and gas in the 14,220-square-kilometre block. Total holds a 60% interest in the project with OMV and Repsol each holding 30%. Under the terms of its contract, granted in 2012, Total will spend more than $10 billion Euro in the exploration process, with Bulgaria receiving a $40 million Euro bonus payment.

 

Bulgaria’s PM talks with head of Lukoil Russia

Bulgaria is committed to foreign investors and creating a favourable business environment, Prime Minister Boyko Borisov told the president of Lukoil Russia during a recent meeting.

At the meeting in Sofia, Borisov highlighted measures taken to combat smuggling, especially as it relates to fuel. Lukoil Russia’s Vagit Alekperov said the company is planning on investing in the country with an end goal of making it a fuel export center. However, he later said that the company is considering selling its four oil refineries in Europe, including the Neftochim Burgas plant in Bulgaria.

“These aren’t assets that are strategic for us at present, we have been focused mainly on exploration and development of oil and gas fields in recent years,” Alekperov said in an interview with Russian media group RBC.