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Bulgaria and OMV sign deal to extend Black Sea exploration for Han Asparuh block

Bulgarian Energy Minister Vladimir Malinov and Representative of Romania’s OMV Petrom, Rob Dobbins have signed an annex extending the permit for prospection and exploration of the Han Asparuh Block by 23 months due to force majeure.

This extension covers the period from 24 February 2022 to 24 January 2024, attributed to the war in Ukraine and the withdrawal of “Total Energies EP Bulgaria” BV from the project.

Minister Malinov emphasised the importance of OMV’s commitment to completing the exploration within the revised timeframe, expressing confidence in OMV’s expertise to deliver successful results. He highlighted that the completion of the prospection and exploration would significantly enhance energy security and competitiveness for both Bulgarian domestic and industrial consumers, as well as the broader region.

During the signing, the Ambassador of Romania to Bulgaria expressed gratitude to the Bulgarian Government for extending the exploration period in the Black Sea. She noted that Bulgaria and Romania share common interests and the benefits of this project will be substantial for both countries.

Additionally, following a decision by the Council of Ministers on 9 May 2024, an agreement was signed allowing Total Energies EP Bulgaria BV to transfer its 57.14 per cent share of the rights and obligations under the permit to “OMV Offshore Bulgaria” Austria. This transfer grants “OMV Offshore Bulgaria” Austria a 100 per cent stake in the project. The Han Asparuh Block, designated as Block 1-21, is located in the exclusive economic zone of Bulgaria in the deep waters of the Black Sea.

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