Romania aims at becoming a regional player on the natural gas market, after kicking off the exploitation of recent onshore and offshore discovered reserves.

Romania

The government announced, with Prime Minister Sorin Grindeanu and ruling Social Democrat chief Liviu Dragnea attending, Romanian energy company Romgaz recently inaugurated Romanian’s biggest onshore natural gas deposit in three decades.

In Caragea, Buzau county, northeast of Bucharest in June 2016, Romgaz, Romania’s most profitable state-owned company, announced the discovery of the deposit estimated at 150 to 170 million boe - barrels of oil equivalent.

Due to higher imports, lower demand for gas in key sectors and a global decrease in gas prices, the new deposit is set to brighten the company’s prospects after its net profit dropped in 2016 by 14 per cent.

Production also dropped by a quarter and sales were down by 17 per cent last year.

According to Romgaz, the company is continuing to explore seven on-shore locations in the country. The gas company, together with Austrian-owned OMV Petrom, control almost all natural gas production in Romania.

Also in Buzau region, where the group has invested 17 million euros, OMV Petrom, the largest oil and gas producer in Southeastern Europe, together with Romanian Hunt Oil Company last year also started the experimental exploitation of a gas deposit.

Black Sea Oil&Gas, a Romania-based company of Carlyle International Energy Partners, is set to start gas exploitation in 2018. US company Exxon and Romania’s biggest oil company OMV Petrom will follow suit in 2020. In the next couple of years, Romania is also set to start exploitation of gas in two sites in the Black Sea.

The country is also due to start construction of the BRUA [Bulgaria – Romania – Hungary – Austria] project by the end of the year, to facilitate the extraction of natural gas from the Black Sea. Works are scheduled to finish at the end of 2019.

‘Once off-shore exploitation kicks off, Romania could become a regional energy player. Romania accounts for almost 80 per cent of natural gas produced in Southeast Europe’, according to Energy Minister Toma Petcu.

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Petros Stathis

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