Romania does not depend on Russian oil, Bucharest says.

Romania no longer relies on Russia’s oil, and the ban on imports from that country, which took effect on Monday, will not affect us because oil companies have identified alternative resources and are no longer buying crude from Moscow. The announcement was made by the energy minister Virgil Popescu at a press conference, in which he reiterated that Bucharest has enough oil and natural gas reserves to see this winter through. Moreover, the minister said, ever since last week oil companies and refineries in Romania have only processed non-Russian oil.

Virgil Popescu: „Romania has no natural gas supply problems, and you may have noticed that it is gradually becoming a regional natural gas hub. Gas is being taken via Romania to Moldova, to Ukraine and to Hungary. In other words, Romania is on its own path, on the European path, it is a natural gas producer and a future natural gas exporter and will ensure both Romania’s and the entire region’s energy security. We have no gas supply problems this winter as well. And Romanians must know that we have no problems in terms of the oil reserves, of fuels, of natural gas and of electricity.”

In turn, the general manager of the „Transgaz” Natural Gas Transport Corporation, Ioan Sterian, vowed that there is substantial domestic gas output and that Romanians have no reasons to fear they will be left without resources this winter.

On the other hand, the shortage of firewood for household heating was discussed on Monday in the Chamber of Deputies. The environment minister, Tánczos Barna, was invited to Question Time by the AUR party in opposition, to speak about the problems caused by the cap on firewood prices, and to explain why the legal framework is unchanged although the ruling coalition promised they would amend a previous government order. Tánczos Barna said the government’s priority was to protect citizens, but admitted that the effects of the emergency order were not as desired. According to Tánczos Barna, the Romsilva National Forestry Corporation and private owners made available this year over one million cubic metres of firewood more than in 2021. He also added that the price of firewood varies from one region to another, which is why it was capped at EUR 80 per cubic metre, and Romsilva also took measures to ensure firewood for next year as well.

Tánczos Barna: „We have put together an investment plan under which we will create 178 new firewood storage facilities and will upgrade the 240 existing centres, operated by Romsilva. In the next 2-3 years we will have an investment budget of over EUR 60 million.”

The AUR leader George Simion said the minister failed to meet the requests for the emergency order to be amended so that all citizens may benefit from firewood irrespective of where they live.

And USR party, also in opposition, accused the environment minister of lacking the courage to take the right measures for citizens, although the country has all the necessary experts and resources.

(Daniela Budu, Radio Romania International)