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  • Writer's pictureRaid Attir

Romania's Deep Onshore Prospective Resources...A Potential That Should Not Be Overlooked

Romania Oil and Gas industry dates back to 1857 when Romania drilled one of the first commercial oil wells in the world. Its production peaked at 300,000 bbl/day in 1978 for crude oil and 39 BCM/year in 1982 for natural gas. Following the peak, production entered in a non-ending phase of constant decline. Currently, Romania produces at 25% of its peak production with 70,800 bbl/day of crude oil and 9.9 BCM/year of natural gas. The decline in production is due to the maturing of its oil and gas fields and is expected to continue unless new discoveries are made.

90% of Romania's oil and gas production comes from ~400 oil and gas shallow fields, of which most of them are mature. These fields are distributed across 4 main basins:

Source - USGS

  • Pannonian (North West of the country)

  • Transylvanian (Central Romania)

  • Moldovian (Est of the country)

  • Meosian (South of the country)

Romania's New Deep Onshore Discoveries

As Romania's oil and gas fields are maturing, E&Ps started to explore deeper structures, from which most recent discoveries have been made.

In 2016, Romgaz (the state controlled gas producer) made its largest onshore discovery in three decades after testing formations at a depth of 5,000 meters. The discovery was made at the Caragele gas field (Moesian basin) in Buzau county with reserve estimate of 27 BCM according to Romgaz.

Same year, Petrom and Hunt Oil discovered a new oil and gas field in Muntenia region (Moesian basin). The discovery was made after testing a formation at 2,500 meters with estimated production per well between 1,200 to 2,100 boe per day according to OMV-Petrom.

Romania's Deep Onshore Prospective Resources

As of 2015, a total of 16,000 km2 of 3D seismic has been made. This covers just 10% of Romania's sedimentary basins. Much of the acquired seismic is focused between 1,000 m to 3,500 m. As a result, deeper structures, with huge resources potential, had not been investigated. A combination of geophysical methods and high-level of 3D seismic surveys is necessary to examine Romania's deep onshore potential. However; recent discoveries appear to confirm the untapped deep-onshore potential of Romania.

According to the USGS World Petroleum Assessment 2010, the Carpathian–Balkanian Basin which covers most of Eastern Europe, including Romania holds prospective resources of 60 BCM of natural gas, 1 billion barrels of oil, and 116 million barrels of natural gas liquids. Furthermore, as per the same assessment, the Transylvanian basin, located Central Romania, holds prospective resources of another 60 BCM of natural gas. As for the Moesian basin, the prospective is 561 BCM of natural gas,171 million barrels of oil, and 20 million barrels of natural gas liquids.

Prospective Resources are those quantities of petroleum which are estimated, on a given date, to be potentially recoverable from undiscovered accumulations, according to SPE International

Romania's Deep Onshore Structure

Most of these prospective resources lie in deep structures that have not yet been explored nor tested. This leaves Romania with a huge hydrocarbon potential in the following areas:

  • Pannonian's basement (below 1500 m north of the basin, and below 5,000 m south of the basin)

  • Transylvanian's Pre-Salt (below 2,500 m)

  • Moldovian's Pre-Tertiary (below 4,000 m)

  • Meosian's Pre-Tertiary (below 5,000 m)

Final Words

Recent discoveries made by Romgaz, OMV-Petrom, and other companies, by exploring oil & gas in deeper structures, confirm the huge potential that Romania holds. However; geophysical methods, high-level of 3D seismic surveys, and exploration drilling are necessary to reveal the true potential of such resources.

This article has been jointly prepared with Chinook Consulting.

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