Romanian natural gas industry mirrored in philately
- Written by Dumitru Chisalita, Judicial Technical Expert in Oil & Gas
2014 could be a jubilee year for the natural gas industry in Romania and, in many regards, in Europe. On world scale, natural gas is an important source of primary energy used in industrial and domestic industry activities, being the ‘cleanest’ fossil fuel. The share of this primary energy source is expected to increase significantly in view of 2030s, seen as the one replacing other sources such as oil and coal.
The year 2014 could be named as the ‘Year of natural gas’ for Romania, this year being one of joint anniversaries for natural gas history, four of which could be named European premieres.
1. 155 years since the manufactured gas distribution network construction commencement (1859).
2. 110 years from the first tests to use associated gas for industrial purposes in Romania and in Europe (1904).
3. 105 years from finalizing the drilling for the first gas well in Romania and in Europe (April 22, 1909).
4. 100 years since finalizing the first natural gas transport pipeline in Europe (April 4, 1914).
5. 55 years since the first Romanian gas export, that could be considered as the first natural gas export in Europe (1959).
6. 40 years of international transit in Romania and in the Balkans (July 25, 1974).
7. 35 years since the building of the first modern underground storage depot for natural gas at Urziceni (1979).
8. 35 years since the start of natural gas imports in Romania (1979).
9. 15 years since the inauguration of the first interconnection between the national natural gas systems of Romania and Ukraine (1999).
These events were evinced in various ways, one of the most interesting being to mark them through philately. Within this context is placed the article ‘ONE CENTURY OF NATURAL GAS TRANSPORT (1914 - 2014)’ published by Eng. Liviu Pintican, former deputy Director General with SNTGN Transgaz SA Medias, in the Sibiu based magazine ‘Curierul filatelic’ no. 173, March-June 2014. I have extracted several paragraphs with his consent.
In order to mark the centenary ‘100 years since the finalizing of the first natural gas transport pipeline on Romanian territory’, the Medias Philatelic Circle, in cooperation with the Natural Gas Museum in the same town, has drawn up a philatelic envelope with an image which reproduces an authentic photo showing works during the assembling of the Sarmasel - Turda pipeline. The envelope was marked 1 leu within the ‘Ceasul florilor (I)’ series issued in 2013 and was obliterated with an anniversary stamp used by the no.1 Postal Office in Medias dating 4.4.2014 (chart no. 1). The stamp model was made up by Eng. Ovidiu Ilies.
During the time, the Medias Philatelic Circle – the city of Medias hosting the offices of the biggest companies in the gas industry in Romania, Romgaz SA and Transgaz SA – have had several initiatives to mirror aspects of the Romanian gas industry in philately.
On January 17, 1981 was set up the Philatelic Group SONDORUL within the Research and Design Centre for Gaz Metan Medias. This group, active until 1990, was the first one of its kind within an economic entity in Sibiu County. The group has issued philatelic pieces (philatelic envelopes, maximum cards, occasional stamps, etc.) every year and even thematic exhibitions on the occasion of the yearly celebrated ‘The Oilman’s day’, (charts 2 and 3).
I would also like to mention the stamps issued in 2009 that marked important moments of the gas industry in Romania, as follows:
- ‘Romgaz - 100 Years’. It is in fact the centenary since discovering methane gas on the current territory of Romania. The stamp issued in 2009 for RON 2.40, together with the vignettes and the issue tabs, had a suggestive image for the history of the Romanian natural gas extractive industry. It showed the head flow of Sarmasel 2 well, a glycol modern station for dehydrating natural gas and the Romgaz SA logo (chart no.4).
- ‘35 years of natural gas transit in Romania and in the Balkans’. The RON 5 postal stamp issued in 2009 was showing a group of pipeline launchers as well as the Transgaz logo (chart no. 5).
- ‘Romania – European source of energy’. The RON 2.10 stamp dedicated to natural gas was issued in 2009, mentioning Sarmasel – the place where the first natural gas deposit was discovered – and Tuzla – the first town supplied with and illuminated by natural gas (chart no. 6).
- Charts no.7, 8, 9 and 10 show envelopes made in Medias on themes related to the Romanian natural gas industry: Sarmasel 2 Well, the portrait of the precursor and promoter of the Romanian natural gas industry – Dr. Eng. Constantin Ioan Motas, the Transgaz SA offices in Medias, the roadmap of the pipelines on Romanian territory for natural gas transit from the Russian Federation to the Balkans.