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February 4, 2023

New infringement against Romania looms, media report

This time, Romania might be reprimanded because of banning gas export. The formal announcement will be probably made today.

The European Commission initiated a new infringement procedure against Romania, because of the interdictions enforced by state authorities on gas exports, government sources informed HotNews. Market sources confirmed the news as well. These days, probably today, the EC will publicly announce the infringement procedure.Under European laws, member states must secure gas transport through inter-connecting pipelines in both directions – import and export – in order to increase the security of supply. Under European Regulation 994/2010, as of 2013 all Romanian inter-connection pipelines must also allow the “reverse flow,” which means allowing the export of gas. Although, in technical terms, exports can be made, the gas producers (Petrom, Romgaz) possibly interested to sell on foreign markets will be confronted by certain restrictions set through the new law of electricity and natural gas. A provision of the new law stipulates that gas producers will have to secure, with priority, the consumption on the regulated market. In fact, gas producers must first make available to suppliers the gas quantities necessary for covering consumption on the regulated market, in accordance with the provisions of the Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) that set in place the price liberalisation calendar. The remainder of their gas output, except for the quantity pertaining to technological consumption, will be made available on the competition-driven market. However, after covering the regulated market, no gas amounts will remain available for export. Possibly only after the market is largely liberalised. The liberalisation will be gradually achieved until 2014 for industrial consumers and 2018 for household consumers.Simultaneously with the liberalisation, the price will gradually increase on the Romanian market of locally-produced gas vs. imported gas.

Romgaz and OMV Petrom agreed to refrain from gas exports until 2015, at least

On the other hand, the two major gas producers, Romgaz and OMV Petrom agreed in principle to state authorities to refrain from exporting gas while prices are being liberalised, until 2015 at least. Romgaz and Petrom promised they would not sell gas abroad, even if export will be possible both legally and technically.Technically, exports will become available through the inter-connection pipelines Arad-Szeged, Giurgiu-Ruse and Ungheni-Iasi. These projects are in various stages of completion and will be finalised in 2015-2016, Economy minister Daniel Chitoiu said in an interview with HotNews. Last December, the Parliament passed a law that explicitly prohibited gas exports, which however  was not promulgated by the president.This is not the first infringement procedure against Romania caused by the non-observance of European energy laws. Romania was the target of several infringement procedures over the failure to enforce European directives referring to the liberalisation of the electricity and gas market. Moreover, it faced a trial at the European Court of Justice for infringing a regulation on the access conditions to natural gas transport networks.

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