Fado – AFP
Gas is now flowing into Romania from a new platform in the Black Sea, where mines have been found and warships seen, a reminder of the war in nearby Ukraine and a confirmation of Bucharest’s determination to wean itself off Russian imports of natural gas.
With concern growing across the European Union that Moscow could cut off gas shipments in response to the bloc’s support for Ukraine, their countries are speeding up the search for alternative sources.
“Romania is taking a decisive step to ensure its energy security… at a time when the war in Ukraine threatens international gas supply,” Romanian Prime Minister Nikolai Chiuca said as he inaugurated a processing plant belonging to Black Sea Oil and Gas Company. BSOG in the southeast village of Fado.
Although Romania has large land and sea reserves, it still has to rely on Russia during the winter to cover 20 percent of its consumption.
BSOG, backed by US private equity firm Carlyle Group LP and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, began work two weeks ago to mine the underwater sediments, the first new offshore development in the Black Sea in 30 years. .
The platform extracts three million cubic meters of gas per day. It is scheduled to extract one billion cubic meters a year over a period of ten years, or about 10 percent of Romania’s needs.
“Today we are facing an emergency in terms of energy supply,” said Thierry Bros, an energy and climate expert at the Paris Institute of Political Science. We have to start production locally.”
“We have to relaunch projects in the Black Sea and relaunch production growth in Norway. In the UK, we should consider launching shale gas production and in France, mine gas production.”
On Fado, Black Sea Oil and Gas Company CEO Mark Becom expressed hope that the “modern” infrastructure built by his company will be used in future gas or renewable energy projects in the Black Sea.
But the Russian attack on neighboring Ukraine complicated the situation.
“We are not in a war zone, but we are close enough and it has a clear effect,” he said.
“Mines were discovered near the platform where warships (sometimes) approached and planes flew by,” he added.
BSOG owns two concessions in an area some 120 km from the Romanian coast, part of which Bucharest repossessed from Ukraine in 2009 under a decision by the International Court of Justice in The Hague.
Although Romania has offshore gas reserves estimated at around 200 billion cubic meters, investors remain cautious.
Fado – AFP