EXXONMOBIL is entering the Black sea via a licensing with TPAO, of Turkey, covering two deepwater blocks.
The super-major will be operator during the initial exploration phase and earn a 50% interest in the Samsun block, which measures about 8,500sq km, and the eastern portion of block 3921, which measures some 21,000sq km. Water depths range to 2,000m (6,500ft).
Exxon says it and TPAO intend to collaborate to merge skills and operational abilities during the development and production phases.
Seismic acquisition and evaluation programmes for the two blocks are currently being operated by TPAO and are scheduled for completion in 2009. Assignment of the interest to ExxonMobil by TPAO is subject to Turkish government approval.
The two companies say they are to invest $400-450million in the first stage of exploration of the two blocks.TPAO has estimated that the Turkish sector of the Black Sea contains about 10billion bbl of oil reserves.