The Ioana exploratory well lies within block XV and Eugenia within block XIII, offshore Romania.

Midia on behalf of Sterling and its approved joint venture partners Petro Ventures Europe and Gas Plus International, has contracted the cantilever-type jack-up drilling rig GSP Jupiter for the drilling of the two wells.

Sterling vice president and Romania manager Mark Beacom said the drilling of Ioana and Eugenia re-establishes the joint ventures efforts, following amicable resolution with the state of Romania, proactively to explore this highly prospective concession.

"Success at Ioana could greatly enhance Sterling’s goal to establish a more substantial gas hub in the Midia block that already includes the Ana and Doina discoveries," said Beacom.

"Eugenia, on the other hand, represents the first exploration well to be drilled in the Pelican block."

The program includes the drilling of Ioana in 93m water depth to a total anticipated depth of 1,600m.

The rig, following the drilling of Ioana, will be mobilized for drilling of Eugenia in 55m water depth to a total anticipated depth of 2,300m.

Scope of work includes improving the platform technical specification and class recertification, with the rig productivity increasing with 67%.

Drilling is expected to commence mid to late September upon completion of TPAO’s program offshore Turkey.

Sterling is the operator of the Midia and Pelican blocks in offshore Romania and holds a 65% working interest.