ExxonMobil started drilling the Pelican South-1 well, its third and latest prospect in the Neptun Block off Romania in the Black Sea. Pelican South-1 is being drilled by Diamond Offshore's ultra-deepwater semisubmersible Ocean Endeavor about 155km offshore.
The objective of the well is to test a new structure after drilling was completed on the Domino-2 well earlier this month, joint venture partner OMV Petrom said in a statement. Data from the Domino-2 well is currently being reviewed.
The deepwater section of Neptun sprawls over about 7500sq km, with water depth ranging from 100 to 1700m.
ExxonMobil’s partnership and OMV Petrom dates back to late 2008, when the Texas-based operator announced on 3 December that it would fund Petrom’s initial work program; contribute data evaluation expertise; and cooperate on a 3D seismic acquisition and evaluation program. The program, which was completed in late July 2013, was the largest 3D survey in the Black Sea, Petrom said in a statement, covering more than 6000sq km.
At that time, it placed the two companies’ investment cost in the exploration program on the deepwater gas prospect at US$1 billion.
The Domino-1 prospect, located about 170km offshore in around 1000m of water, was spudded in 2012. On 22 February 2012, Petrom said that it encountered what might be the biggest gas find in its history. The well found 70.7 meters of net gas pay, resulting in a preliminary estimate for the accumulation ranging from 1.5 to 3Tcf. Production was placed towards the end of the decade, at earliest.
ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania operates the deepwater sector of the Neptun Block. Partner OMV Petrom, the Romanian affiliate of Austria’s OMV Group and the largest oil and gas firm in Romania, holds the remaining 50%.