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Romania needs courage and imagination to evolve into an international player


Romania has all the necessary ingredients in order to become a significant player in the international oil and gas industry. This was the conclusion of an oil & gas focussed debate organized by and CMS on June 25 within FOREN 2014.

For large state-owned companies such as ROMGAZ, ventures with international giants (like OMV or Exxon) are excellent opportunities to prepare for future movements in foreign markets, said Mihnea Constantinescu, ambassador at large, special representative for Energy Security of the Romanian Government. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly encourages such projects: “I think ROMGAZ has all the necessary competencies to enter the international markets; it is only a matter of courage and imagination,” Mihnea Constantinescu said.

As an EU member, Romania is already almost fully aligned with European regulations, explained Niculae Havrileţ, the President of the National Agency for Energy Regulation. The liberalization of energy prices is another important step in attracting new major companies in Romania, while electricity market coupling will soon allow the local market to participate directly and consistently to regional energy flows. In addition, the harmonization of regulations in the EU, including through a single energy regulatory body (ACER) will allow Romania to participate with other EU states on energy production and exchange.

All the speakers stressed the fact that after a history of over 150 years, the oil and gas industry in Romania has a huge amount of potential. Stability and predictability of fiscal policies are minimal preconditions in order to attract new investments, pointed Varinia Radu, partner at CMS and Head of Oil & Gas in CEE. As the natural decline rate in exploitation is very high, new O&G exploration projects are crucial, especially in deep fields. Varinia Radu also highlighted the strategic importance of a good positioning from Romania, given the new geopolitical context created after the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

In fact, Romania is in the privileged position to become a stable supplier of energy to its neighbours, said Iulian Iancu, Chairman of the Romanian National Committee of the World Energy Council and Chairman of the Industry Commission within the Romanian Parliament. In the context of growing regional uncertainties disturbing the energy supply in Central and Eastern Europe, Romania’s production potential and interconnection capacities are certainly opportunities for new businesses and points of interest for policy makers in Brussels.

Geographical location is one of the advantages identified by Andrew Clark, President of Prospectiuni SA. “We are accustomed to operating across 3 or 4 time zones and the Romania’s location opens interesting possibilities in areas with great oil & gas potential, such as Africa, the Mediterranean, Middle East, Russia and Central Asia,” he explained. Romanian companies interested in international expansion should supplement this geographical advantage with a standardization of the services they offer and to actively seek partnerships with local companies in target markets. “It’s better to have 50 or 40% of something, than 100% of nothing”, he said.

Furthermore, Romania has the advantage of a broad pool of service companies active in the oil and gas industry, as well as many people skilled in this field. John Fitzpatrick, international corporate partner at CMS, highlighted that Romania, given the historically strong oil & gas sector, offers well-trained specialists in the oil & gas industry. In addition to Romania and its regional importance and potential he discussed the importance of Turkey and its position at the crossroads of oil & gas consumption and production.

The CMS O&G Debate: ‘Building for the future – Romania as an international player’ by and CMS, brought together a large audience of key industry players, offering the opportunity to discuss and debate the industry’s perspectives. Representatives of AB Energy Romania, Alconex, Amromco Energy, Axpo Energy Romania, Conpet, DSV Solutions Romania, Eco Solution, Energoutilaj SA, Eneria SRL – Caterpillar Power Systems, Expert Petroleum, Geomed Impex 2002, Honeywell Romania, Hunt Oil Company, MOL Romania Petroleum Products, OMV Petrom, OTTO GAZ, Star Storage, Transenergo, Transgaz, Zeta Petroleum, ACUE (Federația Patronală a Asociațiilor Companiilor de Utilități din Energie), AMCHAM (American Chamber of Commerce in Romania), FIC (Foreign Investors Council), FPEN, IRE, ROEC – Romania Energy Center, SUNE and the embassies of United Kingdom, the Russian Federation and Hungary participated.

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