The Western Black Sea basin opened during Cretaceous times by back-arc rifting in association with a north dipping subduction at the rear of the Cretaceous-Early Tertiary Pontide volcanic arc. The sedimentary wedge developed on the shelf of the Romanian Black Sea sector reflects a complex interplay between large scale rifting, uplift of the orogenic flanks, large-scale post-rift subsidence and sea level changes. We examine the detailed structural configuration of this sector for a regional correlation with the adjacent offshore in Ukraine and Bulgaria. The evolution of the western Black Sea basin started in the Albian-Cenomanian times, when two extensional phases with significantly different directions (N-S and subsequently E-W) lead to the formation of a complex interplay between isolated blocks organised in horsts and grabens generally deepening eastwards. Superposition of normal faults footwall blocks from the two extensional episodes generated a deeply subsided area with enhanced accommodation space, i.e., the Histria Depression, and, consequently, recorded a larger thickness of Paleogene sediments in the post-rift stage. (Re)activation of faults and associated folding reflects repeated inversion during the Late Cretaceous-Oligocene times, associated with subsequent periods of non-deposition and/or erosion during moments of basin fill exposure. These periods of inversion recorded in the Black Sea are controlled by coeval orogenic deformations taking place in the Balkans, Pontides and the Crimean thrust belt. Sea level fluctuations during the Neogene and late Alpine tectonics in the neighbouring orogens caused massive sedimentation followed by sediment starvation and/or significant erosion. Large thicknesses of sediments accumulated during the Pontian, presumably associated with an extensional episode deepening the distal parts of the basin and with differential compaction structures. The interpretation of a high-quality seismic dataset combined with published data allowed the correlation of major structural units and lineaments defined onshore towards the Carpathians with the ones deeply buried below the western Black Sea basin sediments. Unit correlations are furthermore used to derive an integrated tectonic image of the western Black Sea area. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.