Petrom, the oil and natural gas company, has supplied electricity to the national grid for the first time as part of the tests conducted at its natural gas-burning power plant in Brazi, Mediafax informs. This is the first private power plant on the Romanian electricity market and is set to compete against state-owned companies in that sector. The power plant has a capacity of 860 MW, slightly larger than the 700-MW capacity of a nuclear reactor at the Cernavoda power plant. “It’s a very important accomplishment considering both the role that this power plant will play on the Romanian electricity market and the fact that this is the first project of this size in Romania in the last 20 years,” Executive Board Member Hilmar Kroat-Reder stated.
Petrom started constructing the Brazi power plant in 2008. Operating two gas turbines and one steam turbine, the power plant represents the largest private greenfield project on the electricity market in Romania.
The first tests took place in the second part of 2010 but the tests that included the first start-up of the two gas turbines started this month. As part of the latest tests the power plant supplied electricity to the national electricity grid, while a part of the electricity produced was used for the power plant’s own consumption.
Early this year Petrom had a conflict with state authorities, the Brazi power plant in which the company invested EUR 500 M being the bone of contention. It all started from the fact that Petrom planned to burn natural gas from national production alone. The company’s plans were foiled by joint order 11/2011 issued by the Economy Minister, the President of the Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) and the President of the National Agency for Mineral Resources. The order forces Petrom to use a basket of natural gas from national production and from imports. The Economy Ministry considers that it cannot allow Petrom to enter the electricity market while having an edge over its competitors.