Natural gas stocks for winter, secured

Romania will not have problems securing its natural gas stocks for winter, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu has said.
Romania has more natural gas stocks than requested by the European Commission, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu has said, giving assurances there will be no problems with the gas supply this winter. Romania’s natural gas stocks account for more than 1.8 billion cubic meters, the minister has also said, explaining that this means the target has already been reached before the deadline in fall.
Virgil Popescu: “The pace of building natural gas stocks is high. The target on August 1st was 46% and on September 1st was 57%. We already are at 59.48%, so we exceed the figure for September. In my opinion, on November 1st, we will have over 80% natural gas, which will get us through winter. Romanians should not fear any shortages this winter.”
According to Virgil Popescu, the Energy Ministry is working on a plan to reduce gas consumption by 15%, as recommended by the European Commission, but there are no reasons for this cut yet. However, minister Popescu has said that we should get used to saving. In his turn, PM Nicolae Ciuca asked the head of the Competition Council to check the evolution of the energy price, as there is a clear difference between the producer price and the market price. Nicolae Ciuca: “I call on the Competition Council, the National Agency for Energy Regulation and on all those with responsibilities in the field, to check the evolution of prices. The energy market should have been balanced, but instead it has turned into a consolidated trading market. Please verify if there are any speculative elements on this market.”
In the context of the war in Ukraine, Europe is trying to cut off its reliance on Russian gas. Many countries have prepared for the scenario of Moscow seizing gas deliveries completely, after having initially decreased them. The Netherlands has successfully decreased its gas consumption by one third since the beginning of the year, but there are countries such as Poland and Hungary that oppose the idea. On the other hand, liquefied gas deliveries from the US have increased significantly. Thus, in the first six months of the year, the Americans sent more gas to Europe than in the entire previous year. Moreover, the pipe transporting gas from Afghanistan to the Greek and Italian markets will significantly increase its delivery capacity to 12 billion cubic meters per year.
Romania, currently the EU country less reliant on Russian gas, has large quantities of unexploited natural gas in the Black Sea, with an estimated volume of 200 billion cubic meters. Most of it is located in the Neptun Deep perimeter, which the Romanian state owned company Romgaz will exploit jointly with the Austrian group OMV Petrom.

(Mihai Pelin, Radio Romania International)