Gazprom Neft’s NIS to Expand Exploration in Southeastern Europe

Naftna Industrija Srbije AD, the Serbian oil and gas company controlled by OAO Gazprom Neft, plans to expand exploration to 10 southeast-European countries to meet a 2020 production target.

The vertically-integrated company, whose main oil and gas production is in Serbia and runs exploration ventures in Romania, Hungary and Bosnia-Herzegovina, may add sites in Montenegro, Albania, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Croatia and Greece in its search for hydrocarbons, according to a presentation released in Belgrade.

“NIS plans to use two development options: buying stakes in projects and smaller companies, and creating joint companies with big players in the region,” the Novi Sad-based company said, adding it plans to triple output to 5 million tons of oil equivalent by 2020.

In Greece, NIS plans to take part in a tender for on- and off-shore sites in partnership with Energean Oil & Gas SA, while in Slovenia it said it’s nearing an agreement for a concession with London-based Ascent Resources Plc. It will also bid in a Croatian exploration tender.

In Montenegro, it plans to “take part in a tender for off-shore blocks in partnership with interested companies,” while in Albania and Bulgaria it may “participate in projects,” the company said without providing details.

NIS said expects to wrap up talks soon with a unit of Falcon Oil & Gas Ltd, a Denver, Colorado-based company, on joint work on two exploration sites in Hungary, in addition to the contract it has with Rohoel Aufsuchungs AG for exploration and production near Kiskunhalas in the south of that country.

Shale Oil

Partnerships in Romania with Canada’s East West Petroleum Corp., Moesia Oil & Gas and Zeta Petroleum Plc give NIS access to six concessions there, while in Bosnia-Herzegovina a venture with Neftegazinkor, a subsidiary of Russia’s Zarubezhneft, is to start test drills next year following seismic surveys, NIS said.

The company also eyes some 2 billion tons of oil shale reserves near Aleksinac in southeastern Serbia for which it will bid in a future tender, possibly with units of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Chevron Corp., or EESTI Energia AS that can provide “adequate equipment” for tapping the unused source.

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