Today we’ll be taking a look at energy infrastructure projects in Romania.
Romania is part of several natural gas and electricity connection projects implemented jointly with its neighboring countries. In the summer of 2012 the Nabucco gas pipeline project, aimed at connecting Turkey and Austria via Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary was ditched due to the lack of gas suppliers. In 2010 the AGRI project had been initiated, a gas pipeline connecting Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary. On September 14, 2010, the heads of state and government of those four countries signed the Baku Declaration and committed to politically supporting the implementation of the project, which involved the transport of the Azeri natural gas via Georgia. According to the project, Georgia is also to host a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminal. The following steps should be the gas transportation on the Black Sea, the construction of a terminal in Romania, aimed at converting LNG back into natural gas and its subsequent transportation through pipes via Romania and Hungary towards Central Europe. Minister of Energy, SMEs and Business Environment, Andrei Gerea tells us more about it:
“Obviously, Romania is directly interested in seeing several important projects taking shape. They include the vertical corridor or the Aegean Baltic corridor that would transport gas from the Aegean Sea area, from Greece, to Romania. We are very lucky that the projects of mutual interest include a very important gas pipe line that will connect the Romanian area of the Black Sea to the town of Arad in the West. All those projects have 2019 and 2020 as deadline. So we must move quickly. We already had a meeting with the representatives of Bulgaria, Greece and Hungary, the countries that should be interested in that project.”
The Romanian Government estimates that gas production in the Black Sea might start in 5 years. That would lower Romania’s dependence on Russian gas imports. Minister Andrei Gerea:
“First I’d like to say that Romania depends very little on gas imports, which are made mostly in wintertime, when temperatures are very low. Romania has important natural gas resources, which can be accessed on condition that there is enough pressure in the domestic transport system. So the first thing we should do is invest in a system of compressors likely to increase pressure in the domestic gas system and then diversify supply sources. We also plan to complete the AGRI project. We want Romania to become a natural gas exporter, just as it became an electricity exporter. We want to be able to give up the 10% gas imports from Russia, which make us dependent on Gazprom, and that will be easy to do when the Black Sea gas resources are exploitable.”
Romania might even increase energy safety in the area, says Andrei Gerea.
“We are electricity suppliers, not very important ones, but we have already taken the first steps in that direction. We further work on interconnections with the neighboring countries and little by little we try to do the same with natural gas interconnection. Within 5 or 7 years Romania will really become an important supplier of electricity and also of stability.”
On March 5th Romania started exporting natural gas to the Republic of Moldova via the Iasi-Ungheni pipeline, officially inaugurated last August. This year Moldova will import over 1 million cubic meters of gas from Romania, at the price of 255 dollars per one thousand cubic meters, down from the 332 dollars Moldova pays for the same quantity imported from the Russian Federation. Moldovan Prime Minister Chiril Gaburici has said that talks are under way with international partners to extend the Iasi-Ungheni gas pipeline to Chisinau, which might completely meet Moldova’s needs:
“We are already discussing about extending the Iasi-Ungheni gas pipeline to Chisinau, which will enable to deliver the gas imported from Romania throughout the country and create loyal competition on Moldova’s gas market.”
Over 60 million euros are needed to cover the costs of the gas pipeline being extended as far as Chisinau. 10 million euros of the entire amount will be allocated by the EU. The capacity of the gas pipeline will be 1.5 billion cubic meters per year, which is more than what Moldova needs to cover its domestic demand.