Romania at no risk from Russian gas disruptions, reiterates its support for Ukraine

By bne IntelliNews June 17, 2014

Romania can meet its domestic gas consumption with no restrictions by January-February 2015 without using any Russian gas, energy minister Razvan Nicolescu said as quoted by HotNews in the context of a possible disruption in regional gas transfers prompted by the crisis in Ukraine.

Afterwards, part of the Romanian power generators will have to switch to alternate fuels, Nicolescu said.

Based on recent consumption data, a full natural gas self-sufficiency can be achieved temporarily by restricting the deliveries to fertilizers producers that would anyway cut consumption if the allowances [lower prices] are discontinued. For June, the imported gas accounts for 2-5% of consumption – but this is because part of the domestic gas is pumped into deposits. The gas reserves are currently 1.4bn m3 and they are planned to hit 2bn m3 by the winter time.

In related news, Romanian PM Victor Ponta met officials from ExxonMobil to discuss allowances for investors in natural gas and oil industry. ExxonMonbil operates a major offshore block in Romania’s Black Sea region where significant gas deposits were discovered - with extraction date estimated around 2019. Exxon, its partner OMV Petrom and local gas transportation company Transgaz reportedly signed earlier this month an agreement under which the Black Sea gas would be directed towards Romania’s gas network.

In a separate statement, Romania’s presidency pointed again to Russia’s direct and major responsibility for the causalities in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Romania’s presidency sees Russia as supporting the escalation of the conflict in eastern Ukraine by tolerating the transfer of fighters and military equipment through its borders to Ukraine, a press release reads.

As a neighbour that could be impacted by the negative developments in the region, and as a NATO member, Romania has taken a firm stance in supporting Ukraine since the beginning of the crisis earlier in the year. Romania has not recognized the merger of Crimea with Russia and is supporting the legitimate leadership in Kiev. As a NATO member and under the separate partnership agreement with the US, Romania increased the logistic support for the surveillance operations in the region.

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