The deal between the state-owned company Romgaz and Exxonmobil is temporarily blocked due to a controversy over the fact that the license to operate in the Black Sea is held by the American company through a vehicle registered in the Bahamas and not in Romania, government sources told Economedia.
At the moment, the two parties are looking for a solution to speed up the €1 billion deal to take over the American ExxonMobil’s stake in the Neptun Deep gas project in the Black Sea.
The deal worth around €1 billion had been approved by Romgaz shareholders as early as 10 December 2021 and the market expected the signing of the papers to be done quickly. The Romanian state-owned company has also approved taking out a €325 million loan to cover part of the purchase amount.
One effect of this delay is the procrastination of the offshore law, which is to establish the new fiscal framework for gas exploitation in the Black Sea. The government is waiting for the Romgaz-Exxonmobil deal to close before sending the draft offshore law to parliament. The offshore law is crucial because the final decision to start work by the consortium led by OMV Petrom, the project operator, depends on it.
Currently, ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom are equal partners in the Neptun Deep project, where exploration has revealed an estimated 42-84 billion cubic metres of gas. If Romgaz eventually buys Exxonmobil’s stake, the Romanian state-owned company will become OMV Petrom’s partner.