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May 27, 22:33

Romania’s gas reserves place country among least affected by Russia – Ukraine conflict

Romania’s domestic natural gas production last year covered almost 90 percent of the country’s gas consumption. This makes Romania one of the countries in Europe least dependent on Russian gas imports and, therefore, least affected by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

Romania’s gas production was of almost 11 billion cubic meters in 2013, 0.6 percent higher than in 2012, while domestic consumption was almost 12.5 billion cubic meters, 7.5 percent lower than in the previous year.

The country’s largest gas producers are Romgaz and OMV Petrom, which have almost equal shares in the domestic production.

Romania’s gas reserves currently stand at some 116 billion cubic meters, which could cover the country’s consumption for some nine years, provided that consumption remains at current levels.  Romania’s gas reserves are the tenth largest in Europe and Eurasia region, according to a research report published by British oil&gas group BP.

The gas resources in Romania’s Black Sea territorial waters, which are now explored by OMV Petrom and American group ExxonMobil could help Romania achieve gas independence. The gas discovery in the Black Sea is estimated at between 42 and 84 billion cubic meters. These could be exploited starting 2018, according to Petrom’s estimates.

In the last ten years, Romania’s gas production declined by 16 percent, from more than 13 billion cubic meters in 2003. However, domestic gas consumption fell even more, by 32 percent, from 18.3 billion cubic meters.

The fall in consumption is due to lower industrial demand, as some large chemical factories were closed during the crisis years, while other industrial consumers reduced their gas consumption through investments. The gas price liberalization, which started in 2013, also discouraged consumption.

Romania is also one of the richest countries in Europe when it comes to oil resources, with some 600 million barrels proven reserves.

Andrei Chirileasa, andrei@romania-insider.com

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