TransAtlantic Petroleum Ltd. (TAT:US) through its unit Direct Petroleum Bulgaria EEOD won a 35-year permit to drill and develop natural gas production in Bulgaria.
The permit covers an area of 2.3 square kilometers between the northwestern cities of Pleven and Vratsa, the government said in an e-mailed statement today. Direct Petroleum found a natural gas deposit estimated at 6.6 billion cubic meters in 2009 near the village of Deventsi, near Pleven.
“We expect the company to start natural gas production in the second half of next year, which will cover 10 percent of the country’s demand,” Energy and Economy Minister Delyan Dobrev told reporters in Sofia today. “Before that the company will drill and will construct a pipeline to link the gas find in Deventsi with the national grid.”
Bulgargaz AD, Bulgaria’s state-owned gas distributor, has signed an agreement with Direct Petroleum to buy 80 percent of its output at prices 35 percent lower than what it pays Russia’s OAO Gazprom (OGZD), Dobrev said.
Gazprom pumps 17.8 billion cubic meters a year to Turkey, Greece and Macedonia via Bulgaria. About 3 billion cubic meters of that is consumed by Bulgaria.
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