Romgaz to bid for Exxon’s stake in Neptun Deep within two weeks
Romania's Government has deferred amending the Offshore Law until local gas producer Romgaz takes over the 50% stake and the leading position in Neptun Deep perimeter from ExxonMobil, Hotnews.ro announced, quoting sources familiar with the deal.
The Government reportedly wants to give Romgaz the leading role in the project to secure the support of the opposition Social Democrats (more inclined to give the state a bigger role in the economy) for the deal and for the amendments to the Offshore Law that is supposed to offer more favorable terms to foreign investors.
The Offshore Law should unlock the projects currently at advanced stages in the Black Sea, including Neptun Deep, presently operated by ExxonMobil in partnership with OMV Petrom.
Too favorable terms under the revised Offshore Law would increase Exxon's expectations and the price in the negotiations with state-controlled Romgaz, the sources consulted by Hotnews.ro explained.
The Government reportedly wants Romgaz to play a leading role in the Neptun Deep project, the same sources said. Exxon holds a 50% stake and runs the operations in the Neptun Deep project.
Giving Romgaz (instead of OMV Petrom) the leading role is a change in plans compared to the strategy announced last year by the Government that was giving the company controlled by the Austrian group OMV the leading role in the project.
At that time, Romgaz was expected to be accompanied by a Polish partner in taking over Exxon's stake. However, Polish PGNiG pulled out of the project. Romania's energy minister, Virgil Popescu, expressed confidence that Romgaz can operate the project as well.