BUCHAREST, July 7 (Reuters) - Romania granted 20 oil exploration licenses in July, including five in the Black Sea, to firms including to Russia's Lukoil (LKOH.MM: Quote), Hungarian oil
and gas group Mol (MOLB.BU: Quote) and Chevron Romania (CVX.N: Quote) the national agency for mineral resources said.
The awards were the first for Romania since the International Court of Justice in February 2009 drew a new maritime border between it and Ukraine to settle a Black Sea
dispute affecting rights to drill for oil and gas.
Countries in the region are keen to tap new energy suppplies to reduce their dependence on Russian gas, highlighted by a pricing dispute between Moscow and Kiev in winter 2009 that cut gas supplies to much of Europe. Romania has said the new border, included in the tender, provides access to an estimated 70 million cubic metres of natural gas and 12 million tonnes of crude oil.
The agency, which received bids from 21 firms, granted licenses to 10 of them. They must now negotiate with the agency, which estimates contracts could be signed in up to 6 months. The licenses are for 30 years with an option to extend by 15 years if hydrocarbons are discovered. Companies will pay royalties ranging from 7 percent to 13.5 percent of production, depending on the concession.
The winning bidders were:
Australian Audax Resources Ltd (ADX.AX: Quote)
Canada's Avere Energy Inc (AVOh.V: Quote)
Chevron (CVX.N: Quote) Romania E&P
UK's Clara Petroleum Ltd
Lukoil Overseas in partnership with U.S.-based Vanco
UK's Melrose Resources (MRS.L: Quote) and Petromar Resources
Irish Moesia Oil and Gas
Mol Hungarian Oil & Gas in partnership with Romanian Expert