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SOFIA (Bulgaria), December 19 (SeeNews) - Bulgaria's government said that it has approved the transfer of 30% of the exploration rights on offshore Block 1-14 Khan Kubrat to the local branch of Australia's Woodside Energy from the current sole holder, Shell International Exploration and Development Italia.
The government has mandated energy minister Temenuzhka Petkova to sign an additional agreement with the two companies for the transfer of the 30% interest, it said in a statement following its weekly meeting.
In August, Woodside Energy said that it has entered into a farm-in agreement with Shell International Exploration and Development Italia to acquire a 30% non-operated participating interest in Block 1-14 Khan Kubrat, in the Bulgarian sector of the Black Sea.
"This opportunity targets an emerging oil and gas province close to existing infrastructure and markets," Woodside Energy said in its interim financial report. Planning is in progress to drill an exploration well in the second quarter of 2019, Woodside Energy also said.
In January, Shell successfully completed a comprehensive geophysical survey in the Khan Kubrat licence area and said it expected to start an exploration drilling programme in late 2018 or early 2019.
"We are currently in the process of preparing for a single exploration well in the Khan Kubrat block and will conduct all necessary assessments in line with Bulgarian legislation and Shell internal procedures," Shell said at the time, adding that the exploration drilling programme is expected to take approximately 3-4 months to complete.
Last year, the Bulgarian government allowed the transfer of the exploration rights on Bulgaria’s offshore block 1-14 Silistar to Shell International Exploration and Development Italia from Dutch-based Shell Exploration and Production. In addition to the transfer, the block’s name was changed from Silistar to Khan Kubrat.
The block spreads on an area of 6,893 sq km in the Black Sea.