Russian oil giant Rosneft has spudded the Maria-1 exploration well in the Black Sea.
The well was drilling in a licence area estimated to contain more than 570 million tons of oil.
The well is being drilled by Saipem’s Scarabeo-9 rig.
Rosneft chief executive Igor Sechin said: “The Black sea has significant oil and gas potential, but yet not a single well has been drilled in the deep water Russian offshore.
“Indicated geological traps are located at the areas with the sea depth exceeding 2,000 km.
“Currently we assume that the forecasted oil in place for the license area is around 600 million of tons. Upon completion of additional works and technical studies the Company plans to refine and possibly increase the potential geological resources appraisal.
“State of the art technologies and equipment in combination with vast experience provided by world leading oil & gas majors and service providers are being employed at the Project.
“This opens a new phase in the Black sea offshore development in cooperation with our strategic partners.”