Pruna, USR: CE Oltenia and the Black Sea gas need urgent decisions

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This year will mark the last chance for CE Oltenia to keep in the future a significant contribution to the production of electricity. At the same time, 2020 is a key year for making a final investment decision in the largest offshore perimeter of natural gas in the Black Sea, USR PM Cristina Pruna considers, according to an opinion posted on contributors.ro.

“In Romania, the first phase of the energy transition would mean the gradual transition from the use of coal to natural gas in the production of electricity. This ‘switch’, which will run throughout this decade, will, however, depend on a series of measures that will need to be taken in the first part of this year. The exploitation of the gas in the Black Sea and keeping alive the CE Oltenia are vital for the future of the national energy system,” says Pruna.

CE Oltenia should, by the end of the first quarter, draw up, together with the EIB and the EBRD, a development and decarbonisation plan and a separate restructuring plan. Otherwise, it should, as of summer, repay the loan of 1.2 billion lei received for the payment of the carbon certificates for the year 2019.

“The deadline for March 2020 is a delayed one, especially since the management of CE Oltenia had received similar requests since July last year from the former Ministry of Energy. These plans should, at least in theory, be ready. If EC Oltenia wants to obtain financing through the 10d Mechanism, 2020 will be the last train. This fund is coordinated by the EIB. EU member states decided, in mid-November of last year, to turn this bank into one that will support, starting with 2021, only “green” projects. Exception will be made only for those energy projects based on fossil fuels that will receive, until the end of 2020, the approval of the commission of experts that does the validation!,” said the USR PM.

At the same time, regarding the decision to invest in the Black Sea, Pruna states that the Liberal executive called for a “political consensus” that should be reached in the first part of this year “in a disorganized and highly fragmented Parliament.”

“The sensitive points of the Offshore Law debated by the former Executive are the elimination of the obligation to trade on the stock exchange of internal gas production, the revision of the price thresholds from which the additional taxation is made, the level of the tax deductions for investments and the stability of the tax framework as a whole. … Black Sea gas production would ensure continuity of the Oltenia Energy Complex. Otherwise, either the transition from coal to gas would be made with imported resources, or it would not be done at all, which would mean a strong blow to Romania’s energy security.”

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