Melrose Resources, the oil and gas exploration and production business, has now been operating successfully in Bulgaria for 14 years. The company's assets in Bulgaria comprise three production licences in the western Black Sea, Galata, Kavarna and Kaliakra.
Melrose first entered Bulgaria in 1998 through the acquisition of Petreco. In 2003, the Company developed the Galata gas field, bringing it on production in 2004. Melrose commissioned and installed all the required infrastructure, including an unmanned offshore platform and an onshore processing plant to bring the gas to the Bulgarian domestic market. During its plateau production period, Galata was estimated to supply approximately 15 per cent of Bulgaria's domestic natural gas supply.
All its operations are run with 100 per cent Bulgarian staff with input from the British parent company if required.
"The quality and persistence of its local staff has undoubtedly been the main driver of our success," says David Archer, Melrose Resources' general manager in Bulgaria. Praising Bulgaria as "not so debt dependent as many so-called stronger economies are", Archer regularly promotes it as a great place to invest and do business in.
Melrose recently started exploration offshore Romania where it hopes to replicate the success of the Bulgarian business model.
Archer is very much aware of the support Melrose has received from the UK government and the British embassies. "For more than 10 years successive British ambassadors and embassy staff (many of whom are Bulgarian) have been strong active supporters of our investment and operations in Bulgaria. They have lobbied at the highest levels on occasions when we have been bogged down in a process. This is also true of successive Bulgarian ambassadors in London."