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June 29, 2022

Russia would offer us gas at a better price if we offered something in return

Romania had trouble paying its dues when there were no middlemen in gas imports, Russian official says

The Russian Embassy’s economic counsellor, Igor Sidorov, stated, yesterday, that Romania could import natural gas from Russia at a reasonable price if our country offered something in return. The Russian official, attending the Meeting of the Ministers of Economy of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Members States, further stated that the proposal should come from the Romanian authorities. When asked what Romania could offer, Sidorov mentioned, as an example, the 2005 deal, when Distrigaz Sud was bought by the French company Gaz de France, although it could easily have been taken over by Gazprom.

“If Romania had sold Distrigaz Sud to Gazprom, which intended to privatise it, Romania would have got gas at a better price,” Sidorov argued.

The Russian official further claims that Romania should not lose the middlemen, as this would not help it obtain a more advantageous price on gas.

“Romania had trouble paying its dues when importing gas from Russia, but, after the middlemen came into the picture, Romania started paying its debts. The present model, however, satisfies all parties, Romania included. The MPs’ debate on the possible solution of losing the middle agents to obtain a lower price on gas is a political debate, maintained artificially for the common man,” he added.

Sidorov further stated that the price of gas could be somewhere above or below USD 500/ 1,000 cubic metres by the end of 2011, depending on oil prices. “It all depends on the situation in Libya. If the situation there worsens, the price will rise,” he argued. Moving on to another topic, the Russian official stated that Russia exports approximately 180 bln cubic metres a year across Europe.

Romania, paying among highest prices for russian gas in europe

Romania is paying one of the highest prices for the gas exported by Gazprom in Europe, according to HotNews.ro. In March, Romania imported gas at the price of USD 400/1,000 cubic metres, while other European states purchased Russian gas at approx. USD 360/1,000 cubic m. Gazprom forecasted, recently, considerable rises in the price of natural gas supplied to Europe, which may amount to as much as USD 500/1,000 cubic m, by the end of the year.
According to figures supplied by Gazprom, the average price of gas exported to European states rose from USD 296.7/1,000 cubic metres to USD 301.8/ 1,000 cubic m.

According to “Energy Observer”, quoting Interfax, striking differences were reported, in 2010, from one state to another. For instance, the United Kingdom bought gas at USD 191/ 1,000 cubic m, while Bulgaria paid USD 310 for the same quantity, Poland – USD 336, Greece – USD 357 and Hungary – USD 348.

At the same time, a study of the Centre for European Enlargment Studies (CENS) shows that Germany imported gas at an average price of USD 271/ 1,000 cubic metres, Italy, at USD 331, France, at USD 306, Austria, at USD 304, and Finland, at USD 271.

According to representatives of the Economy Ministry, these differences are accounted for by the considerable differences in quantity from one country to another. The larger the quantity imported, the lower the price. One has to take into account, as well, that countries like Romania or Bulgaria import gas via mediating companies, such as WIEE or Conef- Imex Oil. A 2010 Gazprom report indicates that Romania imported, last year, 2.6 billion cubic metres of gas.

BSEC officials gathered for the first time

Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) officials gathered yesterday to sign a joint declaration about the role of their collaboration for the economic development of the member states (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, R. of Moldova, Romania, Russia, Serbia Turkey and Ukraine). It was the first time, since the organisation was formed, when all the Ministers in Charge of Economy and heads of the Delegations of the Organization participated at a common meeting. Karoly Borbely, State Secretary in Romanian Economy Ministry said that the role of the BSEC needs to be strengthened through making full use of its potential dialogue and cooperation on issues related to the current developing projects, like Nabucco and AGRI.

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