TotalEnergies seeks partner for future gas drillings in Bulgaria’s “Khan Asparuh” block at Black Sea


The CEO of TotalEnergies, Patrick Pouyanné, recently acknowledged that there is currently no clear plan for the next drilling operation in the “Khan Asparuh” Block situated in the Black Sea. The exploration efforts in the eastern part of the block, closer to the Bulgarian coast, have encountered several unsuccessful drillings, leaving the company in a state of uncertainty. In response to inquiries about the ongoing exploration status, Pouyanné emphasized the need to find a suitable partner who can share the financial burden of the project.

Back in 2012, the Bulgarian government granted an exploration permit to a consortium composed of “TotalEnergies EP Bulgaria” B.V. and “OMV Offshore Bulgaria.” With high expectations, the consortium identified the eastern part of the “Khan Asparuh” Block, located within Bulgaria’s exclusive economic zone in the Black Sea, as a promising area for potential hydrocarbon discoveries, particularly natural gas. Recognizing the significance of this region, the company has actively sought support and collaboration from various stakeholders, including engaging in discussions with representatives from different political parties in an effort to gain necessary backing.

Encouragement arose when seismic surveys conducted during the challenging times of the pandemic revealed indications of potential gas deposits with commercial viability. Drawing parallels to notable discoveries, Yves Le Stanf, the manager of the Bulgarian subsidiary of “TotalEnergies,” suggested that the geological formation in the area could bear similarities to the Domino well found in Romania in 2012, which subsequently led to the development of the Neptune Deep field. Moreover, Le Stanf speculated that the petroleum system in the “Khan Asparuh” Block might also resemble the one uncovered through the Tuna-1 well in Turkey in 2020, initiating the ongoing development of the Sakaria field by Turkish Petroleum, with its first gas production anticipated in 2023.

Given these optimistic indicators, “TotalEnergies” remains cautiously hopeful about the prospects of finding economically viable natural gas reserves in the eastern part of the “Khan Asparuh” Block. However, the company recognizes the importance of securing a collaborative partner to mitigate the financial risks associated with the exploration endeavor. As such, the focus presently lies on establishing a fruitful partnership that can help pave the way for future drilling operations and potentially unlock the region’s energy potentia

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