The law gives the theoretical green light for exploitation of the Neptune Block deep water sector, an area of approximately 7,500 square kilometers in water depths ranging from 100-1,700 meters which is estimated to hold between 42 and 84 billion cubic meters of natural gas.
Oil and gas firms ExxonMobil and OMV Petrom have a concession to exploit 50 percent of the area. The Black Sea gas reserves are the reason why four countries, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria decided to build the BRUA pipeline in a bid to lessen the region’s dependence on Russian natural gas.
The agreement for the construction of the BRUA pipeline was signed in 2017 at a total cost of EUR 479 million (UD$538 million). Financing for the first phase is provided by a European Commission grant of EUR 180 million, a EUR 50 million European Investment Bank loan and a European Bank for Reconstruction and Development loan of EUR60 million. The pipeline is planned for inauguration in two phases, in 2019 and 2022.
Plans outline a transport capacity of 4.4 billion cubic meters per year.