Acasă » Interviews » Christina Verchere: Neptun Deep is essential for Romania’s economic development

Christina Verchere: Neptun Deep is essential for Romania’s economic development

10 December 2023
Bogdan Tudorache

Neptun Deep will contribute to Romania’s energy transition, while ensuring continuity of energy supply and supporting the country’s economic growth, Christina Verchere, CEO, OMV Petrom, told Energynomics. The estimated natural gas production of the project is equivalent to approximately 30 times the current annual demand of approximately 4.3 million households. By unlocking the discoveries in the Black Sea, Romania will become the largest gas producer in the EU and will contribute to the security of the region’s supply, Christina Verchere also said.


After the FID of Neptun Deep, what are the next steps, from the financial and EPC point of view?

 Neptun Deep is the largest natural gas project in the Romanian Black Sea. Together with our partner Romgaz will invest up to EUR 4 bn in the development phase of the project, which will generate a production of approximately 100 billion cm of natural gas.

The project will contribute to the energy transition in Romania, while ensuring continuity of energy supply and supporting economic growth. Therefore, we have a strong commitment to bringing the project to life. We made the final investment decision for Neptun Deep in June this year and received the endorsement of the development plan by the National Agency for Mineral Resources beginning of August.

The confirmation of the development plan moved the project into the technical implementation phase. Immediately after, we announced the signing of the main contract for Neptun Deep infrastructure development with Saipem.

Saipem will execute engineering, procurement and construction works worth of EUR 1.6 bn. The contract also includes the testing and commissioning of the gas metering station and the near shore and onshore sections of the gas production pipeline, which will be built by other contractors. We will continue to progress the procurement process; several other contracts are expected to be awarded this year.


When will the project start constructions and what security measures have been taken?

OMV Petrom has been operating in the Black Sea for more than 40 years – approximately 15% of our current production comes from the Black Sea. Of course, we are closely monitoring the situation and we are in continuous dialogue with the Romanian authorities in this regard. A very important fact is that the project is in the Romanian territorial waters and Romania is a NATO member country.

The construction works are planned for the middle of the decade.


What is the significance of Neptun Deep for the company, investors and the Romanian state?

Neptun Deep is a strategic project for us and for Romania. When we look at the project’s impact for the country there are three key areas that I want to highlight.

Firstly, the project will strengthen the country’s energy security. To give an example of the project’s size: the estimated natural gas production is equivalent to ~30 times the current annual demand of ~4.3 mn households.

Romania has the potential to become independent in terms of natural gas, currently (2022) the imports representing approximately 20% of the demand. In the current geopolitical context, the direct access to resources is fundamental. Moreover, by unlocking the discoveries in the Black Sea, Romania will become the largest gas producer in the EU and will contribute to the security of supply of the region.

Secondly, the development of Neptun Deep will enable economic growth. The contribution to the state budget over the project’s lifetime were estimated at approximately EUR 20 bn.

Thirdly, the low carbon natural gas from Neptun Deep will support the energy transition. Switching to low and zero carbon energy is a process and during this process the sector also has to cover increasing energy needs, while new clean sources of energy are being built. Natural gas also plays an important role in balancing new renewable sources and with the potential to be used for cleaner mobility solutions.

Natural gas stands at the core of our strategy, as we see it as a key enabler for a successful energy transition in Romania. With the development of Neptun Deep we intend to enlarge the share of natural gas in our hydrocarbon production to about 70%. We will do this while increasing our investments in low and zero carbon solutions to a cumulative 3.7 billion euro during 2022-2030. From this perspective, Neptun Deep is fundamental for our strategy. It is also a very important part of our decarbonization journey, with an expected carbon footprint significantly below industry average.


Many politicians say the gas would not reach Romanians, what percentage will be dedicated to the local market, and through what mechanisms will be ensured?

Looking at Romania’s consumption, this is mainly provided by domestic natural gas production. Historically, our entire gas production has been used to cover the country’s energy needs. Most of the natural gas volume is being put on the market, with some quantities being used to produce electricity at Brazi.

Due to its proximity, Romania stands out as an attractive market. Considering that the gas market operates on a European scale, we are actively exploring all available options within the European Union.


 How did the cost of raw materials change in the past year(s) and how did that affect the overall cost of Neptun Deep? What is the difference in costs between an onshore and an offshore facility (E&P)?

Since 2021 the cost per well drilled has increased and we have witnessed an upward trend in costs for electricity, fuels and certain materials (e.g., steel, chemicals), which, coupled with fading supplier discounts based on oil price recovery, has led to higher daily rates.

With regards to the development of the Neptun Deep project, despite this cost inflation in our industry, we managed to keep the estimated total investments within the range announced in December 2021, when we launched our 2030 Strategy. This year we have reconfirmed our initial estimate for total development costs of up to EUR 4 bn, of which EUR 2 bn CAPEX (our share), which is the result of intensified procurement efforts to contain costs in this inflationary environment.

The overall costs for offshore are much higher than the onshore, especially for deep water. For example, the cost of a deep offshore well is usually more than 10 times higher compared to the standard onshore wells.


What is your view on hydrogen in general and hydrogen-based storage in particular?

 We believe the decarbonization process includes a multitude of solutions with hydrogen being one of them. We anticipate that post-2030, hydrogen and carbon capture and storage can play an important role for OMV Petrom, and also for our customers. Hydrogen perfectly fits our strategy due to its potential to decarbonize natural gas and as a solution for the hard-to-abate industries.

We believe Romania has the potential to develop a blue hydrogen industry due to its natural gas resources combined with depleted oil and gas reservoirs that could offer options for CO2 storage.



This interview first appeared in the printed edition of Energynomics Magazine, issued in December 2023.

In order to receive the printed or electronic issue of Energynomics Magazine, we encourage you to write us at office [at] to include you in our distribution list. All previous editions are available HERE.

Autor: Bogdan Tudorache

Active in the economic and business press for the past 26 years, Bogdan graduated Law and then attended intensive courses in Economics and Business English. He went up to the position of editor-in-chief since 2006 and has provided management and editorial policy for numerous economic publications dedicated especially to the community of foreign investors in Romania. From 2003 to 2013 he was active mainly in the financial-banking sector. He started freelancing for Energynomics in 2013, notable for his advanced knowledge of markets, business communities and a mature editorial style, both in Romanian and English.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *