OMV Petrom's Neptun Deep gas project 'closer than ever', CEO says
BUCHAREST, Feb 2 (Reuters) - Romanian oil and gas group OMV Petrom is "closer than ever" to starting construction of its Neptun Deep gas project, its chief executive said on Thursday of the Black Sea resources she says are key to the country's energy security.
The company majority owned by Austria's OMV has said it would make a final investment decision on the project by mid-2023, with the first gas expected in 2027.
"With (the investment decision) just a few months away, we are now closer than ever to the start of this project," Chief Executive Christina Verchere said on an earnings call after the company posted fourth-quarter earnbings little changed from the same period last year.
OMV Petrom said capital expenditure this year is expected to rise by 70% to about 6 billion lei ($1.35 billion), with investment geared mainly towards Neptun Deep, low and zero-carbon projects and a Petrobrazi refinery turnaround.
"Romania has been producing oil and gas from onshore fields for more than 150 years," Verchere said.
"The decline can no longer be compensated by onshore fields. Therefore the Black Sea is the answer for Romania’s energy security. New resources need to be brought on stream in the energy system." ($1 = 4.4515 lei) (Reporting by Luiza Ilie Writing by Jason Hovet Editing by David Goodman)