Bulgaria signed on Wednesday a five-year contract with France's Total for deepwater gas drilling off Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, the Balkan country's economy ministry said.
Under the terms of the contract, Total will invest over 1.0 billion euro ($1.25 billion) in the gas exploration process, while Bulgaria will receive 40 million euro in the form of bonus payments from the deal, the ministry said in a statement.
The company will drill for oil and natural gas in Block 1-12 Han Asparuh at a depth of 5,000 and 6,000 metres. In case it finds a deposit that is commercially viable in terms of development and extraction, it could apply to obtain an oil and gas production concession.
"By signing this contract, we make a huge step on the path of true diversification of energy sources in Bulgaria," the statement quoted prime minister Boiko Borisov as saying at the contract's signing official ceremony.
Recent studies in the Romanian part of the Black Sea have indicated deposits of between 40 billion and 80 billion cubic metres of natural gas.