Gazprom, the largest gas producer in the world, plans to open 50 filling stations in Romania by the end of 2013, according to local business newspaper Ziarul Financiar.
The first Gazprom filling station on Romanian soil was opened in Sibiu, on Christmas Eve. The entire chain of local stations will be under the management of the Serbian NIS group, which is controlled by Gazprom.
“Romania is the second largest European market on which Gazprom filling stations now operate”, stated Gazprom representatives. “On December 19, the first Gazprom filling station was opened in Serbia. Plans for development on the retail segment under this brand include Bulgaria, Bosnia and Herzegovina. By the end of 2013, the Gazprom network of filling stations in the Balkans will have reached 100 units”.
Initial development plans for Romania were for 40 stations opened by the end of 2012, and an additional 80 by 2014.
“The development of the Gazprom filling stations in the Balkans is our strategic objective,” stated Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of the Gazprom Neft Board of Directors. “We aim to expand in Serbia and Romania and the next step is to enter the Bulgarian market. I am confident that in the near future the network of Gazprom filling stations will spread through the Balkans and take over leadership of the market.”
Gazprom filling stations in the Balkans are to be positioned on the premium segment, combining shops, restaurants and cafes.
The first Gazprom acquisitions in Romania date back to the end of 2011. The NIS Group had been negotiating for a few months the purchase of a chain of filling stations owned by Western Energy Group (WEG) SRL of Bucharest, according to sources on the market as quoted by the Romanian press.
This fall, the Russian company, via the NIS group, purchased three Euroil private filling stations in Romania, one in Arad and two in Sibiu, from Romanian businessmen Adrian Nicoara and Dumitru Domnariu. In December 2012, rumor had it that NIS was hair’s breadth from signing for the purchase of 60 OMV Petrom stations in Romania, following the acquisition of 28 OMV filling stations in Bosnia and Herzegovina just one week before.
Gazprom traditionally acted as main gas exporter to Romania and, as partner, via NIS, in oil explorations on areas under concession from the National Agency for Mineral Resources. In 2004, Gazprom participated in the tender for the privatization of Distrigaz Sud, the largest gas distribution company in Romania, but the winning offer came from Gaz de France at the time.
Ioana Jelea, [email protected]