OMV

Photo: Bloomberg

A word of advice to investors thinking of taking a flutter on central European refiners: don’t.

That comes from Tomas Pletser of Erste Bank, who took a look at the region’s refiners and found little to cheer in a sector buffeted by overcapacity, and by the slowdown in western Europe, all with the threat of growing competition from Russian refiners. 

These are early days, but interest from energy majors in Bulgaria’s offshore gas potential is raising hopes that the country can reduce its dependency on Russian imports.

ExxonMobil of the US, Total of France and Melrose Resources of the UK have submitted bids for the 15,000 sq km Khan Asparuh field in the Black Sea near the maritime border with Romania. A five-year exploration permit should be awarded in coming days and, if deposits are found, extraction could start in three to four years.