Yves LE STUNFF, General Manager, TotalEnergies EP Bulgaria
Last year, the Bulgarian government extended for another two years the permit for exploration of the Han Asparuh block in the Black Sea. What are the results of your work so far? What are your plans for the upcoming these 2 years?
Since 2012 a lot of efforts and resources have been invested in the exploration of this large and challenging deep offshore area. Three exploration wells have been drilled between 2016 and 2018. Several seismic campaigns have been acquired to image the underground. Unfortunately, so far, no commercial discovery has been made.
Despite these results we have pursued the exploration as our geologists still believe in the potential of the block.
The analysis of our last seismic campaign in 2020 is indicating the potential presence of biogenic gas prospects, in line with the large gas discovery of Sakarya in Turkey that was made in 2020 and the Domino gas discovery in Romania in 2012 (Neptune Deep field that is operated by our partner OMV Petrom). This work has led us to ask for a new extension of the license until May 2024 that has been granted by the government. This additional time will allow us to assess the possibility of drilling a 4th well targeting gas. A commercial gas discovery on this block would be an excellent news in the present context.
We believe that a gas discovery in the Black Sea could positively contribute both to the energy security and to the smooth transition towards 2050 net zero emissions target for Bulgaria and neighboring countries.
How do you see the presence of TotalEnergies on the Bulgarian market in view of the progress of the energy transition?
TotalEnergies’ actions are driven by the conviction that everyone has the right to have access to energy - reliable, affordable energy that is a source of social and economic development.
Energy Transition will take time (at least two decades) and a lot of investments. While building or modifying energy infrastructures for the future, especially the ones related to renewables, TotalEnergies considers that gas could help the transition with a rapid positive impact on CO2 emissions at a reasonable cost. Gas has indeed an emission footprint which is twice lower than the one of coal for the same amount of electrical energy produced.
For these reasons, we believe that a gas discovery in the Black Sea could positively contribute both to the energy security and to the smooth transition towards 2050 net zero emissions target for Bulgaria and neighboring countries. Such a discovery could enable affordable coal to gas transition while bringing revenues to the state that could be leveraged for the development of renewable energy.
In the short term, TotalEnergies, as a global LNG gas supplier, is keen to play a role to support Bulgaria through the present crisis of gas supply shortage. TotalEnergies could indeed negotiate various LNG cargoes with Bulgargaz over summer 2022 and intends to be part of the upcoming tenders for LNG supply that cover short, mid and long term. This opens a new activity for TotalEnergies in Bulgaria.
In parallel, we are exploring opportunities in Renewables development in Bulgaria. TotalEnergies has already a small footprint through its equity in the company Novenergia which operates two solar plants with overall about 20MW capacity . TotalEnergies has started recently discussions with local project developers of onshore solar and wind energy projects.
We are also monitoring the offshore wind development in Bulgaria, but until any regulatory framework is put in place, no action will be taken.
Mr. Le Stunff, Total has been renamed TotalEnergies for a year already, which emphasizes the ambition for energy transition and achieving zero emissions in 2050. Can you explain how this reflects the new company strategy?
Today the world needs more energy, but the climate urgency requires less emissions. This necessitates a swift change in the business models and strategies of energy market players around the world. TotalEnergies has the ambition to be one of the world leaders in the energy transition and is therefore swiftly transforming into a multi energy company committed to providing energy that is ever more affordable, clean, reliable and accessible to as many people as possible.
We promote renewable, decarbonized energies, produce and market fuels, natural gas and electricity.
We are investing massively in solar and wind power in order to become one of the top five producers of renewable energy in the world by 2030.
When it comes to Exploration and Production, the new strategy translates into focusing into Low emission Low-Cost Oil projects and into developing more gas projects (especially LNG projects) as gas is a bridging fuel for the energy transition.
The company has vast experience worldwide in oil and gas exploration and production projects, in the construction of renewable energy projects. From the point of view of this experience, what would you recommend in terms of the investment environment?
Hydrocarbon exploration and production projects are long term projects with high risks taking in the exploration phase, and with large investments in the development phase. We favor such projects in countries with a stable regulatory and fiscal framework.
In order to proceed with new projects in Bulgaria in hydrocarbons or in renewable energy, TotalEnergies is expecting clear visibility in terms of regulatory framework, as well as predictability and stability in fiscal regimes.
This is also a matter of attractivity for the country. A well-defined country energy transition roadmap, including an infrastructure development roadmap, would help prioritize/orient investments and would create confidence for foreign investors.
Since September 2020 General Manager of TotalEnergies EP Bulgaria
2015 - 2020 E&P Chief Digital Officer, Paris, France
2012 - 2015 Head of E&P R&D Strategy, Paris, France
2009 - 2012 Development and Planning Engineer for Asia Pacific Area, Paris, France
2008 - 2009 Exploration Manager for South Atlantic Pre-Salt Area, Paris, France
2004 - 2008 Head of Seismic Imaging Department, Pau, France
2000 - 2004 Reservoir Geophysicist in Total Austral (Argentina) and Mabruk Oil (Libya)
1996 - 2000 Research Geophysicist, St Remi-Les-Chevreuse, France
- PhD in Geophysics and Seismology – University of California, Berkeley, USA
- Physics Master's Degree – Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France