An underwater gas pipeline linking Romania to Bulgaria through the Danube has been completed as of late.
The pipeline, actually linking the towns of Giurgiu and Ruse, will be 25 kilometers long and should have been finished as early as 2012 but the project was delayed because of the flawed procedure on the Danube’s underwater crossing.
The pipeline will have a maximum transmission capacity of 1.5 billion cubic meters per year, from Bulgaria to Romania, while the annual capacity for the transmission of gas from Romania to Bulgaria will stand at 500 million cubic meters. The new pipeline will be used for gas imports but also for the export of natural gas and will soon become operational.
The Romania-Bulgaria Interconnector received European financing accounting for 23 million Euros, of which 10 million were earmarked for works on the Romanian bank, while 13 other were earmarked for the Bulgarian part. The deadline for all types of work is set for December 31st, 2016. The gas pipeline linking Ruse to Giurgiu is part of a project whose acronym is BRUA, which, in Romanian, stands for Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria. The project is set to link the natural gas networks of the four countries, facilitating the export of natural gas from the Black Sea to Austria.
Romania is so very close to meeting the target of being energetically self-sufficient, thanks to the large amount of natural gas resources discovered in the Black Sea. Here is what Romania’s Energy Minister Victor Grigorescu said on the matter, in an interview to radio Romania.
Victor Grigorescu: ”I believe that, before speaking about energy independence, we should speak about energy security, as our aim is to not have an autarchic, closed-in system, but it is important for us to have continuity in supply. So there is an energy independence component, which means that we rely on our own resources, while in another development we should also have the opportunity to secure our gas supply from external sources, if need be, and, if you will, the best example for the effort we have made to that end is the BRUA project. It is the project of the gas pipeline linking Romania to Bulgaria, to Hungary and Austria, which allows us to access new natural gas resources. It is a project with a four-year span, which entails the construction of 528 kilometers of a new pipeline in Romania, so, as I was saying, it’s about energy security, first and foremost.”
About the BRUA gas pipeline project, the Secretary General of the Romanian Association of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Companies Association Daniel Apostol had this to say.
Daniel Apostol: “First off, the start of the BRUA project is no longer a hypothesis, it is no longer theory. There are elements that have been implemented already, it is a huge investment Romania is about to run, also with European funding, which is a positive thing, one third of the more than 500 million Euro, which accounts for the total amount to be invested, is money earmarked by the European Union. BRUA will take shape as soon as possible and the moment we have such a high-pressure pipeline, the supply in the Black Sea is to become marketable, the market proper really functional, which means that Romania will indeed become a relevant player on the European energy market.”
For works at the BRUA gas pipeline on Romanian territory, the Transgaz natural gas company in Budapest signed in early September the agreement enabling the Romanian company to receive 179 million Euros worth of European funding through the European Interconnection Mechanism. For the first year, once the proper functioning of the gas pipeline is secured, based on the signed agreements, Transgaz will provide a flow of 0.5 billion cubic meters for the pressure of 29 bar at the border.
The BRUA gas pipeline has been developed due to the growing need for natural gas supply sources to be diversified, in the case of European countries. Also, the security of Romania’s natural gas supply has been enhanced through the access to new sources, while no less important is the necessity to provide the transmission to Central-European markets of natural gas supplies from the Caspian region.
Energy Minister, Victor Grigorescu, has referred to the production of energy from renewable sources:
Victor Grigorescu: “Renewable sources are definitely important and it’s natural that Romania should evolve towards technologies that have a small impact in terms of carbon dioxide emissions. So, from this point of view, renewable sources are very important. But we believe that the current technologies are not mature enough yet to become a significant presence in the forthcoming decades. And I’ll give you an example: we are now making the balancing, that is we supply additional electric power, obtained from the production of the power plants running on coal, to make up for the periods when, for instance, it is less windy or less sunny than necessary for the photovoltaic panels to work, and that is a paradox in a way. What I think we should do at the moment is to simply rearrange correctly several elements of the energy mix, which should keep it balanced and provide what I previously referred to as supply security. We have a generous production of renewable energy and we have exceeded the targets set at European level. On the other hand, we have an unbalanced mining sector and potential to produce hydro power.”
The final document of Romania’s Energy Strategy for 2016-2030 with the prospects for 2050 will be made public soon.