Russia's Lukoil is looking to sell out of the Trident block in Romania's Black Sea waters, where it is currently the majority owner.
The privately held player informed its local partner, gas producer Romgaz, that it intends to divest its near 88% stake in the pair's venture, which controls the whole block.
Romgaz chief executive Adrian Volintiru told Romanian news outlet g4media.com that it received a letter from Lukoil’s subsidiary, Lukoil Overseas Atash, stating the company’s decision to proceed with the sale.
Lukoil has not specified the reasons behind the decision, he added.
Volintiru said Romgaz will enter talks with Lukoil, but implied it is unlikely the gas producer will decide to increase its current shareholding of about 12% in the block, which is also known as EX-30.
Saipem’s semi-submersible rig Scarabeo 9 completed the drilling of the Trinity-1X exploration well in the first quarter of this year.
The well was dry despite initial high expectations from Lukoil that it would find a continuation of an earlier discovered gas reservoir.
The block's current in-place reserves are estimated at about 30 billion cubic metres of gas following the drilling of Lira-1X well, which penetrated a 46-metre thick gas bearing reservoir at a depth of about 2700 metres.
However, proceeding with development was deemed uneconomic because of a windfall tax that was introduced along with Romania’s offshore law, which was approved in 2018.
The Romanian government has begun efforts to amend the law.
However, authorities have proposed just amending the existing tax arrangement for offshore projects that is criticised by international operators.
They will keep the windfall tax, ranging between 15% and 70%, but increase the threshold of the minimal gas price over which this levy will apply.