This is the transcript of the message delivered by Artur Stratan, Chairman of the Association of Oil Exploration and Production Companies in Romania (ROPEPCA), during the Energy Strategy Summit, held on June 4 at the Cantacuzino Palace in Bușteni.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. First, I would like to thank the organizers, Wing Media, for the invitation to participate in this summit. For those of you who do not know the abbreviation, ROPEPCA means the Association of Oil Exploration and Production Companies in Romania, we brought together over 19 active members, holders of petroleum agreements. Still, we do not represent the whole spectrum; we must recognize that two companies are missing from our membership portfolio in order to have a 100% coverage of the whole industry.
What is ROPEPCA in the oil and gas industry in Romania? First, an investment force of 600 million euros, taxes paid to the state budget in 2014 of 11 billion lei (sometimes the taxes paid to the state budget far outweigh the investment) and offered las year a total of 17,381 jobs. Certainly in 2015 this number has already been exceeded.
As an organization we can tell you that last year we were faced with extremely high pressures from oil price volatility, which has been, is and will remain unknown. There isn’t hope for a comeback too soon at the price of 100 dollars per barrel in the next decade, so the impact that industry feels will be substantial.
Another pressure factor is the tax burden we face, which is not stable from one year to another and which is quite large. This is why we initiated as organization dialogues with a common voice with the authorities, Government representatives, at different levels, to resolve, to address these problems and find a way to solve them.
Another problem we face, which Mr. John Knapp (President of RBSTA – e.n) already mentioned, is regulatory instability, with laws, decisions, amendments, emergency ordinances emitted overnight and additional taxes imposed on industry oil and gas. In our view this dynamic system has three main elements: the need for the state to receive funds for the centralized budget, economic efficiency of ongoing projects realized by holders of petroleum agreements and the stake of the citizen, the final consumer.
There is a basic principle of project management that says you cannot get something good, cheap and fast. You should always opt for two attributes at the expense of the third and apparently this is true for upstream sector in Romania. Previous speakers have mentioned Romania’s energy strategy, the current one and the one that will be completed later.
We would very much like to see this energy strategy implemented in legislation in the new Fiscal Code and in the new Law of Royalties, not remain an independent document forgotten somewhere on a shelf. The investment climate in Romania should be particularly attractive to foreign investors and as a rule of thumb, always it will compete with other opportunities in other countries, not necessarily in Europe.
Another basic principle, which the organization has sent to members of the Government, is to tax profits and not investments. We welcome with this occasion the proposal to remove from the new Fiscal Code the famous tax on special constructions. Also we welcome the proposal to remove that windfall profit tax, additional income tax, 60% tax on income from natural gas during price liberalization and 0.5% from the sale of crude oil.