US company Stratum Energy will become the third largest gas producer in Romania after completing a USD 150 M investment in this country next year, Minister delegate for Energy Razvan Nicolescu said, after accompanying PM Victor Ponta during meetings with oil company officials in the US. ‘Stratum Energy will turn into the third largest gas producer in Romania after Romgaz and Petrom, with an annual production of over 0.5 bn cm, at the end of a USD 150 M investment in Romania next year, in the development of the recent discovery of conventional gas in the area of Moinesti, Bacau County’ said Nicolescu. The energy official stressed that the American investment would have a crucial role in obtaining energy independence by Romania in 2020. ‘I strongly believe that the attraction of know-how and investment from the US for the Romanian energy sector will help our country become energy independent around 2020. In addition, consumers will benefit from better prices, new jobs will be created and additional taxes will be collected into the budget’, Nicolescu explained. Stratum Energy Romania LLC is the Romanian subsidiary of a petroleum company founded in Houston, Texas, in 2008. The Romanian subsidiary is headed by ex-Petrom chief Ion Popa. In 2008, Stratum Energy acquired exploration perimeters held by Toreador Resources in the Moinesti area and in 2009 started drilling in the Poduri 1 perimeter. Following geological work carried out in the Moinesti area, Stratum Energy Romania LLC announced back in 2012 that it discovered an important natural and condensed gas (light crude oil) deposit in the Poduri perimeter. Company officials say the capability will permit the daily extraction of 3 to 6 M cubic metres of gas and 500 to 900 cubic metres of light crude. The value of the gas reserve might be in excess of USD 1.5 bn and the value of the light crude oil is 70 per cent of the value of the gas. Those hydrocarbon reserves could revitalise local oil industry after a period of decline in the last 20 years. In the context it has to be noted that another American company, ExxonMobil is exploring together with OMV Petrom a depth perimeter in the Black Sea where recent discoveries have been identified, expected to secure Romania’s energy independence after 2020.