Chiriţoiu: Investigation of the European Commission regarding CE Oltenia will take several months

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The investigation carried out by the European Commission regarding the restructuring plan of the Oltenia Energy Complex will take several months, but the Romanian state will help the company to acquire emission certificates until the end of April without penalties, said Bogdan Chiritoiu, president of the Competition Council.

He was in Brussels on Monday and Tuesday, along with Energy Minister Virgil Popescu, to discuss with European officials the plan to restructure the coal-fired power plant, as the EC opened a thorough investigation in early February.

“It was a roadmap meeting, we are not in the stage of receiving the final approval of the Commission for Restructuring Programs. The Commission said that progress is indeed towards the initial plan, but we are not yet at the final version of the plan. In terms of progress we can include the fact that we try to attract third-party investors, for example there is interest from banks, but we are looking to bring other companies to invest with Oltenia in new capacities on gas and photovoltaic panels. Plan is more credible this way, because it shows that there are sources of financing for the part that does not belong to the state “, Chiriţoiu said, according to Agerpres.

According to him, the Oltenia Complex must prove that the funds that will represent the company’s contribution, which is at least 50% of the costs of the restructuring program, are guaranteed.

“We will also have to show that there is no interest from third-party investors in taking over the company’s assets, the existing facilities. The Commission wants, for legal reasons, to make sure of this. My expectation is that no one is interested in and takes over old, end-of-life installations that are linked to high pollution costs. Technology itself has no future. The future of coal is counted in a few years from now. This is because pollution taxes are increasingly in Europe, which wants to reduce pollution and coal is no longer economically viable. I don’t think there will be investors who want to take over coal installations, but I think we can find investors in new gas installations,” the official of the Competition Council added.

He said that the Romanian authorities will look for solutions in the next period to improve the restructuring plan.

“The Commission is not yet in the phase of being able to approve this plan. This period of public consultation, according to third parties, must be completed and we must exhaust the possibility of investors taking over assets from Oltenia. This stage of public consultation would take a month or two. In the meantime, we will have discussions with the ministry and the company to see how we can improve the plan and how we can attract non-public resources, which must be reliable sources,” Chiriţoiu said.

Asked what the chances are of the plan being approved by the end of April, he replied: “This is the goal we have set for ourselves, but it is not only up to us, although we have acted in this regard. At the same time I do not rule out the situation in which it will last a few more months.”

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