Romania is one of the oldest hydrocarbon producing countries in the world with initial production recorded in 1858. At one time it was the largest petroleum producer in Eastern Europe.
Romania’s petroleum industry could benefit by the employment of additional capital and the utilization of modern exploration technology. The Romanian fiscal regime is attractive and there are ready markets and infrastructure onshore.
Sterling has interests in projects in both the onshore and offshore areas. In addition to several western companies exploring in Romania, the country has seen an influx of major companies such as OMV from Austria, Gas de France, Ruhr Gas as well as a number of independents.
In late 2006 Sterling completed an arrangement with Talisman Energy Ltd. to acquire its 80% interest in the Black Sea blocks X111 Pelican and XV Midia. As a result Sterling increased its interest from 20% to 100% and operates the block.
The blocks cover 1.1 million acres and are comprised of the Pelican Block XIII to the north and the Midia Block XV to the south. These blocks contain several mapped prospects as well as the Doina and Ana gas discoveries in the southern Midia block.
Following its corporate strategy, Sterling farmed out 35% of its interest in both blocks to two companies reducing its interest to 65%.
In late December 2007 Sterling drilled the Ana-1 (formerly Doina Sister) well and encountered gas. The well tested at stabilized rates up to 19.2 mmscf/d from perforations over a 29 meter interval. As with the discovery well on the neighboring Doina well, the test results do not reflect the full production for a development well due to the limitations of the testing equipment. The well is now suspended for possible future re-entry.
During August 2008 Sterling completed the open-hole logging of the Doina-4 well after having reached a target depth of 1,250 metres approximately 17 days after the well was spudded. Initial results confirmed the northerly extension of the gas bearing Doina Main Sand reservoir, some 1.6 kilometres north of the previously drilled Doina wells. In addition, prospective gas bearing intervals were noted both above and below the main reservoir body.
The Doina Main Sand reservoir was encountered some 3 metres higher than anticipated, and had a significant gas show on drilling. Subsequent electric wireline logging has confirmed a reservoir section similar to previous Doina wells with excellent sand intermingled with more silty intervals. The top of the Doina Main Sand section was at a 1,094 metres true vertical depth subsea (tvdss) with the base of the gas bearing reservoir picked at 1,125 metres tvdss, which is consistent with the gas water contact noted in the previous Doina wells. This interval contained an estimated gross 12 metres of high quality reservoir with porosities in excess of 30%, again similar to previous wells. Given the equivalent reservoir was tested in the Doina-2 well at 17.5 mmscf/d, and calculations for this well indicate similar productivity potential, the well has been suspended for possible re-entry as part of any future development program.
During September of 2008 Sterling announced the successful completion of the Ana-2 appraisal well, in the Romanian Black Sea. Ana-2 was drilled as a follow up appraisal well following the Ana-1 discovery well, which was drilled and tested in January 2008.
The Ana-2 well encountered gas within the Doina Main Sand Formation at 1,121 metres tvdss, some 10 metres shallower than originally mapped. The well has been extensively evaluated with electric logs, MDT pressure tests and a collection of wireline gas samples. These results confirm the presence of a 39 metre gas column with a net pay of 23 metres in high quality reservoir sands with porosity of up to 32% and good permeability. The pressure data also confirms a gas water contact consistent with the earlier Ana-1 well. The reservoir sands encountered in the Ana-2 well are equivalent to, or slightly better, than those encountered in Ana-1. The original Ana-1 well tested gas, at rates up to 20 mmscf/d under conditions restricted by equipment. Under unrestricted conditions, a final completed rate in excess of 30 mmscf/d per well is anticipated.
The Ana-2 well also encountered a 5 meter gas bearing reservoir in a shallower horizon at 766 metres tvdss. This shallower horizon was also present in the Ana-1 well and will be further evaluated, in order to determine its feasibility as a new reservoir.
The well reached a total depth of 1,600 metres on September 10th and was located approximately 750 metres north west of the original Ana-1 seabed location. Following the successful acquisition of the logging suite, the well has been suspended. Ana-2 was directionally drilled from a seabed template, which provides re-entry capability for both of the Ana wells for future production.
Sterling and the National Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR) signed an agreement in 2007 to modify the existing Exploration and Production Sharing Agreement (EPSA) to a tax royalty concession agreement. In November of 2008 the Government of Romania ratified this agreement and changes for the 11th Amendment to the EPSA for Blocks XIII Pelican and XV Midia located in the Romanian Black Sea.
In addition to the Doina and Ana discoveries, the Doina trend also contains several other mapped prospects with amplitude anomalies indicative of possible gas. The Midia block also has other exploration targets, including the large Midia SE prospect, which is located to the south and east of the Doina trend. In late 2008, Sterling shot 3,000 kilometres of new seismic data across the Doina trend and Midia SE to progress all of these to drillable status.
This Amendment converts the original EPSA to conform with Romania's tax and royalty structure as contained in other recent petroleum agreements. The agreement transfers greater control and decision-making to the operator, and reduces direct day-to-day Government involvement, without compromising the requirement for ongoing compliance with both Romanian and European legislation.
Response is awaited from the International Court (ICJ) relating to the border area on the Pelican Block between Ukraine and Romania, but given Sterling's focus on the Doina trend, the border situation does not impact the short-term program. However, the Pelican Block contains multiple prospects including the very large Gasca prospect which remains in Sterling's medium term drilling plans. A resolution to this dispute is expected to be delivered by the ICJ by April 2009.
In early December 2008, Sterling signed a Heads of Agreement with Melrose Resources plc (“Melrose”) relating to the Pelican XIII and Midia XV Blocks. In exchange for a cash consideration and a carry on future investment, Melrose will acquire a 32.5% working interest in the Pelican XIII and Midia XV Blocks.
Melrose will make a cash contribution of US $24-million for reimbursement of past costs in two tranches. An initial payment of US $12-million will be made to Sterling on closing and a further US $12-million will be paid at the time of the Doina area development project sanction or one year from the date of closing, whichever is earlier. Melrose will also carry Sterling for a proportion of their future development costs. The amount of the cost carry will be between US $58-million and US $72.7-million, depending on the gas price achieved for the development project, ensuring Sterling is carried for development activity into 2011. Sterling will retain a 32.5% working interest in the Pelican and Midia Blocks.
Melrose will become operator of the development projects, initially associated with the recently appraised Doina and Ana fields on the Midia XV Block. Sterling will retain operatorship for the exploration of the significant prospects in the remaining parts of the blocks.
The tansaction completion will be subject to the finalization of a fully termed agreement and the appropriate government, partner, regulatory and financial approvals, with completion targeted for early 2009.
Sterling obtained the South Craiova concession under an agreement with the Romanian National Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR) in August 2000, since then Sterling has had fiscal and legal representation in Romanian while operating their interests from local offices.
The Concession extends over some 1.5 million acres and was selected given its location on trend between the producing fields in Romania and Bulgaria. South Craiova lies to the south and west of Bucharest with fairly gentle topography providing ease of access for operations.
Since obtaining the concession Sterling has undertaken considerable geological and geophysical work. Wells have been drilled on the concession in both 2005 and 2006. In 2005 the Cetatuia well was drilled in the north east part of the block to a depth of approximately 2,600 meters. The well did encounter some non commercial gas but was unsuccessful in the main target zone In 2006 the 2942-Piscu Sadovei (also referred as Boar) was drilled in the south east part of the concession to a depth of 2,673 meters, Although unsuccessful in finding hydrocarbons, the well encountered two excellent reservoir sections in the Jurassis Dogger and upper Triassic intervals.
Despite the disappointing results of the Cetatuia and Boar wells, Sterling maintains the view that the area is under-explored and still has significant potential. Work in 2007 has concentrated on the Goshawk area located in the central portion of the block and several locations have been identified for testing shallow Tertiary gas prospects.
During August of 2008, Sterling reached agreement with Grove Energy Romania to acquire the other 40% of the South Craiova Block and subsequently farmed out a 50% working interest to TransAtlantic Petroleum Corporation. Following the farm-out, Sterling will retain a 50 % working interest and operatorship through Midia Resources SRL, a wholly owned Romanian subsidiary of Sterling.
In return for their working interest of 50%, TransAtlantic has agreed to conduct a work program of three exploratory wells, covering Sterling’s costs through drilling and testing. TransAtlantic will undertake the work program using a proprietary drilling rig and crew, with the first well expected to spud in early 2009.
privind aprobarea Actului adiţional nr. 11 la Contractul de explorare şi împărţire a producţiei pentru perimetrele XIII Pelican şi XV Midia, încheiat între Agenţia Naţională pentru Resurse Minerale şi Sterling Resources Ltd.
Iată şi o părere interesantă exprimată de domnul Adrian Năstase:
Hotararea pe care Curtea Internationala de Justitie a pronuntat-o astazi confirma faptul ca DECIZIA PE CARE AM LUAT-O, IN 2004, CA PRIM-MINISTRU, a fost o decizie corecta, in interesul Romaniei. La acel moment, dupa 6 ani de negocieri si dupa 34 de runde de discutii bilaterale in care ne-am lovit de pozitia inflexibila a Ucrainei ,am considerat ca singura solutie este sesizarea Curtii. Decizia de atunci nu a fost luata fara anumite opozitii in tara - era prima data cand Romania accepta sa supuna un diferend de frontiera hotararii unui tert, o instanta jurisdictionala.
Recurgerea la jurisdictia CIJ a avut avantajul garantarii pronuntarii unei solutii echitabile si aflate in deplina concordanta cu normele dreptului international. In plus, demersul oferea o perspectiva temporala clara si rezonabila pentru rezolvarea unui diferend cu mize deopotriva istorice si economice. Daca nu am fi apelat la Curte, am fi ramas si acum intr-o relatie ambigua cu vecinii din Ucraina in ce priveste situatia platoului maritim.
Hotararea pronuntata astazi este direct aplicabila, obligatorie, definitiva si executorie imediat, neexistand cale de atac. De asemenea, nu sunt necesare niciun fel de formalitati pentru punerea ei in aplicare. Asa ca putem vorbi despre decizia de azi ca fiind una istorica.
Acesta este un succes al Romaniei nu numai prin solutia in sine. Pe aceasta cale s-a rezolvat un dosar litigios complex, care afecta relatiile cu tara vecina. De asemenea, formula de soluţionare a diferendului cu Ucraina contribuie la cresterea autonomiei energetice a Romaniei fata de importurile din Est, resursele din zona trebuind sa devina o rezerva de tip strategic pentru statul roman. In acelasi timp, hotararea CIJ poate fi un exemplu bun in plan regional pentru solutionarea altor probleme bilaterale.
Decizia de la Haga este pentru mine si un succes personal. La 4 ani si aproape 5 luni de la de la un demers pe care l-am initiat, in septembrie 2004, Romania va beneficia nu doar simbolic sau moral, ci si strategic si economic. Faptul ca acum, dupa ce titularul puterii de la Bucuresti s-a schimbat de doua ori, obtinem un astfel de succes este o dovada de normalitate si de continuitate a unor lucruri bune ce au fost incepute in trecut. Poate ar trebui ca acest tip de abordare sa se regaseasca si in alte domenii, inclusiv de politica interna.
Atat in nume personal, cat si ca demnitar al statului vreau sa felicit echipa de la Haga si pe Bogdan Aurescu pentru modul profesionist in care au sustinut pozitia si interesele Romaniei. Decizia este un succes pentru scoala romana de drept international si pentru diplomatia romana.
PS Sper ca acum desemnarea lui Bogdan Aurescu ca secretar de stat la MAE (transmisa in urma cu doua saptamani la guvern) va fi, in sfarsit, semnata de Emil Boc!
Update>>> Adaug aici linkul unde poate fi consultata Decizia Curtii Internationale de Justitie.
În urma declaraţiilor apărute în ultimele două zile în ceea ce priveşte concesionarea unor perimetre de explorare a resurselor din Marea Neagră, Partidul Naţional Liberal face următoarele precizări:
1. Concesionarea a fost acordată de Guvernul Stolojan în anul 1992 şi a fost prelungită, succesiv, de toate Guvernele României.
2. HG din 12 noiembrie 2008 nu a acordat drepturi în plus companiei în cauză şi nici nu a modificat conţinutul contractului de concesiune realizat de Guvernul Stolojan.
3. HG din 12 noiembrie 2008 a adus doar schimbări de denumiri, ca urmare a unor modificări legislative (Legea Petrolului, acte normative de schimbare a denumirii unor instituţii).