The conflict between Russia and Ukraine is dragging out. Russian group Gazprom, an indirect exporter of natural gas to Romania, announced Monday that it has warned the European Commission about “potential interference” with the supply of natural gas if Ukraine, whom Russia has refused to supply with natural gas unless paid in advance, taps into the transit gas volume.
The Bucharest Gov’t has reassured the public that Romania is not threatened by natural gas supply problems either now or in the upcoming winter months.
“Together with the natural gas transporter Transgaz Medias, we analyzed the situation early this morning (editor’s note – Monday) and the resulting data shows we already have over 1.4 billion cubic meters of natural gas in stock. Moreover, in the last month – and now – Romania’s domestic production was higher than national consumption, which is very helpful. Let us not forget that the summer is coming and consumption levels naturally drop during this time,” Razvan Nicolescu, Minister Delegate for Energy, stated in a press release. Moreover, if the situation in the region worsens, Romania has a measure plan prepared, the Energy Department has announced without offering concrete details.
In turn, Prime Minister Victor Ponta confirmed yesterday at the beginning of the PSD National Permanent Bureau session that Romania has the necessary reserves to withstand the next six months.
“We are interested because we are the governing party and we have an obligation to govern. The situation in the region, as you can see, is worsening; gas supply has been blocked. Earlier this morning I had a discussion with the Minister of Energy and I would like to announce as soon as possible that Romania will not run into problems on the short term, in the next six months; we have the necessary reserves,” Ponta said. The most important aspect at the moment is to ensure stability and predictability of the entire political arena, he continued.
“We have the main responsibility toward maintaining stability, as we are the largest party in the governing coalition. I would like to ask the members of every structure – Parliament, local structures, Government – to convey the same message, namely that this is a time when Romania needs earnestness and stability more than anything else,” PM Victor Ponta said further.
“Consistency” in keeping with U.S. and EU strategic partnerships
Cristian Diaconescu, former Ministry of Foreign Affairs and presidential candidate of the People’s Movement Party (PMP), noted that Romanian authorities need to officially reconfirm their “consistency” in complying with the strategic partnerships concluded with the U.S. and EU, particularly in situations such as Russia’s stoppage of gas supply to Ukraine, Mediafax reports. The fact that Russia has stopped the supply of natural gas to Ukraine is “deeply alarming” and creates an economic discrepancy which also affects the European Union, Diaconescu continued, adding that as head of diplomacy in 2009 he took part in a series of “EU emergency meetings aimed at countering a similar situation.”
“The political forces which are hesitant toward maintaining consistency with our Western partners are irresponsible and only wish to attain partisan political benefits to the detriment of Romania’s national democratic interest and the nation’s interests,” Diaconescu concluded.
The countries completely at the hands of Moscow’s monopoly on energy are Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, and Finland because 100 percent of their imported gas in 2012 came from Russia. They are closely followed by Bulgaria (89 percent), Slovakia (83 percent), and Hungary (80 percent). Slovenia, Austria, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Greece also import more than half their natural gas from Russia.
Romania’s outlook is more optimistic, as only 24 percent of our country’s natural imported gas came from Russia and the percentage has not exceeded 30 percent in the last few years, depending on the severity of winter temperatures.