Natural gas in the forthcoming Energy Strategy of Romania

There is much talk for some time about Romania’s Energy Strategy. There are companies that look forward to it, blaming its absence for their inaction, there are companies unconcerned by the Energy Strategy and companies that do not want an Energy Strategy for Romania.

A qualitative analysis of the natural gas sector, as a step towards finalising the National Energy Strategy, was held on March 11, 2016, an action taken in order to collect as many opinions on the sector’s future.
It was a commendable initiative of the Ministry of Energy, to bring back the debate in Romania. By conducting the analysis at the Bucharest Polytechnic University and the quality of participants entailed discussions of some realities neglected in the past 25 years, criticism and new ideas regarding the natural gas sector.

I cannot help but remember that two of the largest gas companies have not participated to this important event for the sector, for these companies, for their employees, but also for the city of Medias.
I tried, along with the only Medias born Secretary of State in the gas sector ever, to cover this situation, but a bitter taste remains for the lack of involvement of the gas companies in the preparation of their future.
Among the most important conclusions drawn following discussions are the need to replace expressions as ‘gas industry’ with ‘a gas market’ and ‘let’s produce gas and later decide what to do with the gas’ with ‘let’s set up a functional market and produce the amount it requires’.

The debate on the mentioned issues has strengthened the need to build a free, flowing, responsible, carefully monitored natural gas market, expected to develop ways to support vulnerable customers, unitary monitored to prevent crisis and, in crisis situations, fully integrated into the European Energy Union and able to promote the sustainable development of gas resources.

Also, it is imperative that all activities in the gas sector (design, construction, exploration, exploitation, services related to gas handling) have one single purpose - to facilitate the trading of natural gas in order to obtain the best prices of gas at a certain time and of a certain quality of the delivery.

The trading must be the spearhead of all other activities - exploration of oilfields, gas extraction, the development of certain forms of storage, pipeline design and construction, exploration of objectives in the sector, dispatching, measurement, allocation etc.

The success of the approach should be supported, requiring further debate of ideas on specific platforms, in order to collect ideas and suggestions, and the monitoring of the effects of such actions.

The second working session of the qualitative analysis stage in drafting Romania’ Energy Strategy was held on March 11, 2016. The event, hosted by the Bucharest Polytechnic University, was dedicated to the Oil and Gas sector. The debate was attended by experts from the Romanian energy sector, by the governmental sector, by academia, by companies and regulators, whose ideas, opinions and advice are expected to bring added value in developing the new energy strategy for Romania.

In the first part of the day the specialists took part to a plenary session, after which they were divided into two workshops. The first workshop focused on ‘Natural monopoly type regulated activities: transport and distribution of oil and natural gas’ and the second – ‘Natural gas: production, transportation, storage, distribution, market model’.

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