Gov’t wants to unblock great economic projects, including shale gas


By doing this the country has the chance of reaching energy independence “in several years,” PM Victor Ponta says.

Premier Victor Ponta stated yesterday that he wants to unblock “the great economic projects that have been blocked for a lot of years,” listing shale gas among them, in order to no longer import natural gas from Gazprom, “as I see the desire is,” .

Ponta explained that for the moment he is talking about “exploration through conventional methods” and Chevron will spend in Vaslui County “around 300 million euros just this year.” “Do we want to no longer import gas from Russia, for the natural gas to be cheaper for the population, for us to have competitive Romanian industry? Then we need gas. If not we will import from Russia and it’s expensive,” he added. Premier Victor Ponta stated afterwards, at the start of the USL meeting, that the government will approve projects on the reopening or unblocking of mining projects and asked Parliament to support this. “The important thing is only one: we have to and we have an extraordinary opportunity to economically unblock Romania,” he stated, adding that Romania has the chance to be independent energy-wise “in a few years.” Among these economic projects blocked for a long time the Prime Minister also listed the case of Rompetrol, after the government approved through a draft law the memorandum of understanding signed by Romania and The Rompetrol Group on February 15, 2013. Basically through this decision the government agrees with Rompetrol getting rid of its USD 660 M debt to the state by buying back 26.7 per cent of the shares at the price of USD 200 M. Likewise, Rompetrol takes the commitment to make a series of investments. In the absence of this agreement, Victor Ponta argued, the company was almost insolvent and was at risk of being closed down.

Premier Victor Ponta also stated that by June Romania will fulfill the criteria concerning the lowering of arrears at the level of local authorities, pointing out that in case that does not occur then the agreement with the IMF will not enter the financial institution’s board.

Ponta stated that at this moment Romania does not meet this criterion. He expressed his hope that the criterion will be met by June.  Asked for a comment on the statements that Finance Minister Daniel Chitoiu made on Saturday, according to which there were talks within USL on the possibility of overtaxing public sector salaries higher than EUR 1,000 Ponta pointed out that the talks on the solidarity tax took place in January. “When we adopt a decision we will announce it,” Ponta answered.

 

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