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Exxon, OMV Petrom Start Black-Sea Well Exploration Drilling

OMV Petrom SA, Romania’s largest oil company, and Exxon Mobil Corp. started exploration work for oil and natural gas at Romania’s first deepwater well in the Black Sea.

The two companies brought in the Transocean Ltd.-owned drilling rig, Deepwater Champion, to work on the Domino-1 well, after the drill ship completed exploration operations offshore of Turkey, the Bucharest-based company said today in a statement to the city’s stock exchange. The drilling will probably take about 90 days, Petrom said.

Exxon and Petrom together hold exploration licenses for an oil and gas block in the Romanian section of the Black Sea and will invest “several hundred million dollars” in high-risk deepwater exploration, Johann Pleininger, Petrom’s executive board member responsible for exploration and production, said in the statement.

“Exploration drilling, especially in such a frontier, unexplored areas as the deepwater Black Sea, may or may not result in a discovery,” Petrom said. “If commercial discoveries are made, the development of the Neptun Block would yield significant positive industrial, social and economic benefits.”

The two energy companies may spend about $150 million in the first drilling of the Black Sea well and invest between $3 billion and $10 billion to operate the block if testing proves to be successful, Ian Fischer, a manager at Exxon’s Romanian unit, told Mediafax on Aug. 25.

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