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Chevron up first for Romania shale drilling

Government granted 20 exploration licences in July last year

Chevron will drill a number of shale-gas wells in Romania next year – the first in the country. A spokesman for the supermajor declined to comment, saying the firm was “still in the very early stages in Romania”.

However, local media quoted Chevron’s country manager, Thomas Holst, confirming drilling plans for 2012 at a seminar held last week.

In July last year Romania granted 20 exploration licences to a host of international companies, including Chevron, which secured three shale-exploration blocks – Costinesti, Vama Veche and Adamclisi – covering 675,000 acres in the Romanian portion of the Carpathian-Balkanian basin.

The round was the country’s first since the International Court of Justice demarcated the maritime border between Romania and Ukraine, resolving a dispute over drilling rights in the Black Sea.

Romania’s shale-gas reserves are unknown, but a study by the US Energy Information Administration earlier this year said there could be 19 trillion cubic feet (cf) of recoverable resources across basins in Romania, Hungary and Bulgaria. Romania’s “potentially prospective” basins include the Pannonian-Transylvanian, which stretches across Hungary and northern Romania, and the Carpathian-Balkanian, which covers southern Romania and Bulgaria. The study did not assess the potential resources in either of these basins.

Over the past two years, Chevron has acquired over 4 million acres in Romania, Poland and Bulgaria as part of a move to explore and develop Europe’s shale-gas potential.

Romania has 21 trillion cf of proved conventional gas reserves, but despite producing 370 billion cf last year, according to Cedigaz, it is still reliant on Russian imports to meet its 446 billion cf/y of demand.

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