Oettinger: Dependence on Russia should to be reduced


However, according to the Commissioner for Energy, present in Bucharest at Energy Summit ‘29+1’, the partnership between the EU and Gazprom regarding gas imports must continue.

The partnership between the European Union and Gazprom regarding gas imports must continue, but it is necessary to reduce the dependence on Russia and identify alternative sources of supply, said on Friday European Commissioner for Energy, Guenther Oettinger, present in Bucharest at Energy Summit ‘29+1’ on 24th and 25th April, a CEEP – Central Europe Energy Partners – annual round table.
‘Gazprom and Russia are partners of the European Union, and this partnership must continue and will continue. We’ve begun the partnership in the 1960s, during the Cold War, we’ve received gas and paid for it, but there is a need to diversify. We need to have a partnership with Russia, but we must reduce our dependency,’ said the European official. He mentioned as alternative sources Norway, Algeria, Azerbaijan but also the southern corridor in the gas sector. ‘Our own production is very important. We need more interconnection between gas deposits and technologies to transport gas both ways,’ added Oettinger. The EU official underlined that Romania plays a major role in this tradition, given its land-based and at-sea gas resources. ‘It’s mandatory to avoid dependence and ensure our own production, from either conventional or unconventional sources’, the commissioner stated.
The 3rd edition of the Energy Summit was held under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Romania Victor Ponta and Minister Delegate for Energy of Romania Razvan Nicolescu, after it was already successfully tested in Budapest and Vilnius. The main topic of Bucharest summit is energy prices and costs in Europe.
“This is the only way we can build a common European energy market and increase the economic potential of our region. To satisfy the energy policy guidelines for 2020 Central Europe needs to invest EUR 400–460 bn in efficient electricity generation and transmission. Various estimates foresee that electricity prices for industrial customers in the EU11 could rise between 40 and 60 percent and this undoubtedly will impact individual consumers as well”, said in his turn Pawel Olechnowicz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of CEEP.
On the other hand, German Chancellor Angela Merkel met Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk in Berlin on Friday to discuss the prospects of an “energy union” proposed by Poland, novinite.com informs. Tusk has recently reiterated calls for the establishing of a EU-wide union aimed at reducing energy dependence on Russia. After holding talks with Tusk in Paris, French President Francois Holland said last Thursday his country would back such plans, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
Support for the consumers vulnerable for the payment of energy costs
On the other hand, the delegate minister for Energy, Razvan Nicolescu announced, after a meeting with the European commissioner for Energy, that he will propose the European Commission to define the consumers vulnerable to the prices of energy and gas, so they receive European funds for paying their bills. Romania committed itself to the IMF to liberalise the prices of energy and gas in phases, during several years.
According to latest data released by Eurostat, in the second half of 2012 Bulgaria and Romania had the lowest average prices of electricity among EU states, of EUR 9.6 for 100kWh and, respectively, EUR 10.8 for 100 kWh, while the highest were in Denmark (EUR 29.7) and Cyprus (EUR 29.1).
As for natural gas, the lowest average prices were recorded in Romania (EUR 2.7 for 100 kWh), Slovakia and Estonia, with the highest being in Sweden, Denmark and Greece.
The price of gas for Romanian household consumers increased by 2 pc starting April 1, 2014.
Nicolescu also wants to have, by September or early October, “a consolidated draft” of the energy strategy, which he will discuss with political parties. The Department for Energy put on public debate the energy strategy, at the middle of March. The strategy is due to cover the interval 2014-2035.
Crude oil royalties, modified after presidential elections
The delegate minister for Energy, Razvan Nicolescu believes that the royalties for crude oil should not be modified before the presidential elections. What are the arguments of the minister, a former Corporate Affairs Manager with Petrom, and how does he think the royalties for the extraction of crude oil and gas should be changed? “I think it would not be good for the royalties system to be revised before presidential elections, because any system were set in place, it would generate much criticism and many discussions. I believe it would do no good to the quality of the decision if it were made under the impact of the political, electoral debate,” Nicolescu explained. He gave the example of Poland, where it took many years to revise the royalties system. He also suggested that all those who hold licenses for the extraction oil and gas should be involved in the talks. There currently are over 40 exploration licenses in Romania. (…) “It is important to encourage the new exploitations, also in order for the state to increase its incomes,” the minister added.

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