Oil and gas

The future of hydrogen in Romania: dispelling myth from reality

The public discourse is still flooded with faulty narratives on the future of hydrogen, especially on the doubtful expectation that hydrogen can either replace the use of natural gas in most current uses and it can therefore provide a lifeline for the continued use of fossil fuels throughout the following decades. To counter such narratives, this paper dispels a set of nine myths that are still pervasive in national discussions on hydrogen.

Reflections on COP28

A successful negotiation is one that leaves no one fully satisfied with the result, but also not fully disappointed. From this viewpoint, the final COP28 statement can be considered an achievement. The text is arguably balanced and inclusive of the needs of all members. As COP28 in Dubai came to an end, some labeled it a failure, while others marked it as a significant advancement in climate action. It's probably a bit of both. Even before its start, COP 28 was marked by the suspicions surrounding the vested interests of the oil-rich hosting country. This time, a different and more ambitious set of expectations were publicly set compared to, say, COP24, which was hosted by Poland, a fossil-fuel-dependent country – even as it came after some controversies surrounding statements made by the COP28 president. This marks an evolution in the advancement of the global conversation on climate change. The conference started with strong commitments for the Loss and Damage Fund – a topic discussed for over 30 years, since COP13 in Bali, which was center-stage at last year’s COP in Sharm el-Sheikh. The Fund is meant to compensate climate-vulnerable developing countries for climate change impacts that have not or cannot be addressed through mitigation and adaptation measures. Importantly, an agreement was reached on the operationalization of the Fund and funding arrangements. Hundreds of millions of dollars have been promised within the first days of the event, with the total pledges reaching $792 million by the closing of the conference. The World Bank has been chosen to host the fund for the first four years. Among COP28’s main achievements were the global call for tripling renewable generation and doubling the annual energy efficiency improvement rate by 2030. While the implementation of these efforts will need to be defined more granularly through the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC), the urgency of a faster-paced transition has not been disputed. Another one – arguably even more impactful – was the pledge of 50 oil companies to address carbon emission in their operations and, more importantly, to reach near-zero methane emissions and to end routine flaring in their activity by 2030. As expected, the most controversial topic, given the host of this year's COP, was the language on phasing-down (instead of the expected phasing-out) fossil fuel utilization. The “transition away” wording of the final statement was celebrated by some as historic and caused dismay for the more climate ambitious Parties. The final statement certainly hinted to the knotty negotiations and, ultimately, to the complexity of giving up fossil fuel production and consumption (especially in emerging markets). In fact, fossil fuels are embedded in so many of the fundamental processes underpinning both developed and developing economies, that transitioning away to low emissions alternatives will take much more than words in the COP final agreement. Nonetheless, decarbonisation cannot be achieved without a near-complete elimination of fossil fuel use, and the final text marks a small step forward in this gargantuan challenge. One of the most important levers to accelerate the transition, particularly in developing countries, is finance. Several announcements were made at COP28. Multilateral Development Banks announced additional climate finance commitments worth $180 billion through various programs and country platforms. Finance pledges were also announced for nature-based solutions and green industrialization in Africa. On the private sector side, UAE announced the launch of Alterra – a catalytic fund worth $30 billion, meant to mobilize $250 billion in private investments in developing countries through blended finance instruments. In addition, several other initiatives were launched including a philanthropy-backed early stage climate venture fund, the Green Guarantee Company backed by USAID, the Green Climate Fund and others, and a new reinsurance scheme for smallholder farmers in Africa.   Romania’s contribution to the initiatives developed in Dubai were also notable: The country joined the Carbon Management Challenge – an initiative launched by the US Department of Energy (DOE) – which focuses on deploying carbon capture, utilization, and storage and carbon dioxide removal, as key elements of keeping the 1.5-degree goal within reach. The Global Methane Pledge Ministerial has made notable progress over the last year, since COP27. More than $1 billion new grant funding have been mobilized, with new national commitments and legislation from main emitters, including oil and gas operators. Romania was welcomed as new member, bringing the total participants to 155. The nuclear sector’s revival of last year(s) has reached a landmark at COP28, with more than 20 countries – including Romania - launching the Declaration to Triple Nuclear Energy – an effort of signatory countries to increase threefold the global installed electrical capacity from 2020 to 2050. While not among the Ministerial officials attending the High-Level Roundtable on Hydrogen, Romania and its ambitious hydrogen plans can benefit from the outcomes of this initiative, which closed with a mutual recognition of certification schemes for hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives, with an ISO methodology as a global benchmark for GHG emissions, and with advancements in the cross-border trade corridors. The 1.5C target is most likely out of reach at this point, based on current pledges. Moreover, whether ambitious or not, the agreements reached are not binding, being subject to more granular cross-national and national policies, regulations, and targets. Pledges also merely represent an indication of the effort levels needed, as measures such as tripling renewable investments or doubling energy efficiency efforts depend on very diverse starting points and contexts – technically, socially, and economically. That being said, while highly symbolic and performative, COP28 delivered a clear message: all countries now agree that the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels. It may seem like common knowledge, but the intense negotiations needed to reach this conclusion stand as proof that it was a remarkable achievement.

Let’s talk about COP27

Within this new reality and the ensuing global crisis, COP27 was seen by some as an “oasis of diplomacy”, to quote US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm – a space where countries could come together to act on the global challenge that is climate change. But while countries did come together in some landmark agreements, they left Sharm-el-Sheikh without much progress on actual action to mitigate climate change.

Stories of carbon capture, utilization and storage – dubbed in Romanian

As part of the ConsenCUS project, EPG is analyzing the narratives and perceptions surrounding carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) in Romania, where a novel carbon capture and conversion technology will be demonstrated in the near future.

Policy brief: foaie de parcurs pentru avansarea captării și stocării carbonului în România

Acest policy brief rezumă foaia de parcurs pentru avansarea captării și stocării carbonului (CCS) în România, dezvoltat de EPG în cadrul proiectului CCS4CEE. În această foaie de parcurs, EPG prezintă o serie de acțiuni concrete care trebuie implementate de către guvern, operatori economici și alți actori, pentru a realiza proiecte CCS și a contribui la atingerea țintelor de decarbonizare ale României.

Policy brief: a roadmap for advancing carbon capture and storage in Romania

This policy brief summarizes EPG’s roadmap for advancing CCS in Romania, written as part of the CCS4CEE project. In this roadmap, EPG presents a list of actions for implementation by government, economic operators and other actors, to make CCS projects a reality and contribute to Romania’s industrial decarbonization targets.

A roadmap for advancing carbon capture and storage in Romania

As part of the CCS4CEE project, EPG has produced a roadmap for advancing carbon capture and storage (CCS) in Romania, building on its analysis of the context and opportunities for CCS in Romania.

Opțiunile României pentru eliminarea dependenței de importuri de gaze naturale din Federația Rusă – Perspective pentru 2023, 2030 și 2050

Șocul geopolitic cauzat de invazia militară a Ucrainei de către Federația Rusă zguduie nu doar sistemul european de securitate, ci și securitatea energetică a Uniunii Europene, care își acoperă nu mai puțin de 40% din consumul de gaze naturale prin importuri din Rusia. Între statele est-europene puternic dependente de importurile de gaze rusești, România are o situație relativ privilegiată, fiind un producător semnificativ de gaze.

Carbon capture and storage – the Gordian knot of decarbonization in Central and Eastern Europe

Carbon capture and storage (CCS) refers to a chain of technologies deployed to capture, transport and store CO2 away from the atmosphere, mitigating its warming effect on the climate. For each step in the CCS process, a range of technologies has been developed and tested for different industries and operating conditions, making CCS a complex value chain rather than a single, “off-the-shelf” technology as it is sometimes portrayed

Executive summary: Assessment of current state, past experiences and potential for CCS deployment in the CEE region

This executive summary provides a brief overview of the report “Assessment of current state, past experiences and potential for CCS deployment in the CEE region”, written as part of the CCS4CEE project.

Assessment of current state, past experiences and potential for CCS deployment in the CEE region

In this study, EPG brings together the work of project partners in Work Package 3 of the CCS4CEE project. The resulting report is an in-depth analysis of the current context and opportunities for carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region.

Captarea carbonului, un vector de decarbonare în România

Captarea și stocarea dioxidului de carbon (CCS) poate avea o contribuție importantă la decarbonarea economiei europene și române.

Evaluarea stării actuale, a experiențelor anterioare și a potențialului de implementare a CCS în România

Acest raport prezintă o evaluare a contextului actual și a potențialului tehnologiilor de captare și stocare a carbonului (CCS) în România, condusă în cadrul proiectului CCS4CEE.

Assessment of current context, past experiences and potential for CCS deployment in Romania

This report presents an evaluation of the current context and opportunities for carbon capture and storage (CCS) technologies in Romania, written as part of the CCS4CEE project.

The day the oil markets crashed – again. Is this time different?

The global oil industry will continue to be battered by the constraints of climate policies, divestment and lowering returns. True, a depressed oil price environment disincentivizes investment in renewable energy sources, electromobility and, alas, energy efficiency – a lesson well learned in the aftermath of the 2014 oil industry downturn.

Oil markets in 2020: fundamental drivers and geopolitical uncertainties

The fundamental market drivers are pointing at a balanced oil market in 2020, with a Brent price mostly within the $60-70 a barrel – unless, that is, a massive escalation of the geopolitical tensions occurs, following the targeted killing of Iranian general Soleimani, causing large and indeterminate oil supply disruption.

Natural Gas: Facing a Pricy Winter

This analysis details the relevance of each component in the mix, explaining how gas shortages are usually dealt with, and presents the next regulatory steps essential to cover gas demand.

The centralized market as a prerequisite to a gas hub. Lessons for Romania

In a market economy, the term hub generally refers to the intersection of several commercial routes, where an abundance of merchandise from various sources prompts the closing of many deals “on the spot,” transparently, with amounts and prices known to all traders present.

The Outlook for natural gas in Romania and proposals for its value-added capitalization

This report analyzes the current natural gas sector from the point of view of reserves, infrastructure and market setup. The study also addresses the prospects for the evolution of different segments of natural gas consumption by 2030 and provides appropriate policy and regulation recommendations which would lead to the value-added capitalization, on the Romanian Market, of the expected Black Sea natural gas production but also of onshore deposits.

Energy Poverty Today. Part I: Energy Access

This article is part of a series of three called Energy Poverty Today, presenting in a nutshell the main concepts and challenges of energy poverty.

The new royalties’ framework in the Romanian O&G upstream

The Economy Ministry published in October the draft law for mineral, petroleum, and hydro-mineral resources. The document includes a much anticipated new royalties’ framework for the upstream O&G sector.

Romania´s energy strategy and petroleum taxation. Lessons from Norway

Romania´s petroleum tax regime is under review, with lingering uncertainty about its future design. The article discusses strategic considerations of this review, in light of the country expected (but equally unclear and overdue) long-term energy strategy.

History of unitization-based cooperation in the development of offshore cross-border deposits. Part I

This paper traces the history of how states came to cooperate in the development of offshore cross-border oil or gas deposits. First, it explains the shift in how a state´s offshore has come to be viewed from “open to all” to sovereign rights over an exclusive economic zone and finally to cooperation in the interest of all parties concerned. Secondly, it discusses the types of agreements states signed and the problems these agreements solve.

The Oil Market’s Fall Upswing

Is this a turning point towards substantially higher oil prices? Most likely not. The same rebalancing mechanism of shale oil producers kicking in at higher crude prices will be prompted. However, we may well see a longer-lived equilibrium around $60 a barrel of Brent, which can make everyone happy for a couple of years.

Natural Gas in the Romanian Energy Mix: Strategic Importance and Circumstantial Barriers

Natural gas is the most important form of energy in Romania’s the final consumption structure. In 2015, gas accounted for 29% of the total demand, followed by oil products with 26%, 19% renewable energy sources (RES (including hydro), 17% coal and 9% nuclear energy. Gas consumption is almost equally divided between the domestic and industrial sectors – in the latter gas is used primarily in the production of electricity and as raw material in petro chemistry.

World oil market in 2017: Contango or backwardation?

Important market players already bet that days with oversupply of crude oil will soon to be outdated and that the market will return to balance – and therefore back in the situation backwards.

Turkmenistan’s gas hurdles: No end in sight

Plummeting oil prices and fallen revenues triggered a chain reaction in Turkmenistan, which has a current account deficit of about $6 bn. Ashgabat devalued the currency by 19%. There have been reports of massive food shortages and unpaid wages.

32 Gas market liberalisation. GEO64/2016 and its effects

How much will we pay for natural gas in 2017?

Romania holds first capacity auction for Isaccea – Negru Vodă pipeline

Romania’s capacity auction is a significant step in regional gas market opening. At the end of July 2016, Transgaz has signed gasinterconnection agreements with its Bulgarian and Ukrainian counterparts in order to increase interconnectivity and allow bidirectional flow from Ukraine to Greece.

Analysis on the constitutionality of the introduction of a tax on additional profit on the holders of oil agreements

The introduction of the additional tax must be fair, proportionate, reasonable, fair, and the level of taxation must be determined according to objective, rational financial criteria corresponding to the taxpayer contribution (according to the Romanian Counstitutional Court practice)

Natural monopolies:the case of Romania’s distribution network

In Romania, a number of industrial sectors that serve the public interest are strictly regulated – natural gas, railroad or electricity systems, to name a few. As such, for the local energy sector, and particularly for electricity, the transmission and distribution services are regulated as “natural monopolies”

The Threats that Cloud Romania’s Upstream Promise

Romania does offer potential for becoming a regional gas hub. Also, gas exploration, production and transportation networks still need innovative approaches, reform and development.

The household energy market in Romania is in a process of liberalization. Or is it?

The adoption of a system that will allow a step-by-step liberalization of energy prices has proved to be an inspired measure, as Romanians would not have been ready for a sudden, direct shift to a free market. The ongoing debates in the Romanian society on vulnerable consumers emphasize just that

Principles of a flexible and stable petroleum fiscal framework

Romanian Government’s new approach to the oil and gas fiscal regime has all the features of a rigid framework, with meager chances of remaining stable on the long term. But how should a flexible and stable fiscal framework for upstream O&G look like?

Oil royalties and the rule of law (or how the romanian state experiences a drop in self esteem)

A good deal of the political and media environment in Romania continues to promote or to dwell in confusion when it comes to the Romanian state´s gain from petroleum activities, popularly known as “the regime of oil royalties”.

The competitiveness of the refining industry in Romania and the EU

During the evolution of the Romanian oil industry, the refining sector emerged at the end of the 19th century by way of a massive import of foreign capital and advanced technology. In 1895 the construction of Steaua Română refinery started in Câmpina, one of the largest in Europe of that time, with capital of Deutsche Bank.

How are we to pay the energy bills?

The creation of a regional balancing market calls into question the commercial viability of the classical electricity generation capacities which ensure, at the national level, this service.

“Fit for fifty” and perhaps for more…? tax regime for petroluem activities

Nobody can deny the sovereign right of states to charge taxes on any activity including petroleum activities. It is of utmost importance when, why and namely how such fiscal measures are established.

Elements of an optimal fiscal regime for Romania’s offshore sector

The investment cycle of an oil project is long-term – typically 25-30 years, or longer for offshore projects. In addition, offshore projects in particular require large upfront exploration capital investments. Also, the investment risk for offshore exploration activities is high, and the cost recovery timeframe can be over a decade.

Hurdles in the Path of Romanian Gas Market Liberalization

The 2018 calendar was supposed to bring a 3% increase in household gas prices as of 1 October 2014, as a first step towards timely liberalization. In light of the burden that would have thus fallen on households ahead of presidential elections held in December, the Government, through its Department of Energy, requested this delay.

Oil and Gas History – tradition and strategic opportunity

The history of the oil and gas industry has been and is an intrinsic part of the economic and social development of modern Romania. Also, Romania has the prospect that, by the end of the current decade, it will become a top producer of hydrocarbons at European level – especially natural gas.

The fairytale that wasn’t: the Iasi-Ungheni gas interconnector

The Iaşi-Ungheni interconnector is a 43 km long pipeline meant to transport up to 1.5 bcm of gas per year from Romania to the Republic of Moldova, under the Prut River that constitutes the border between the two countries. Construction works only took one year, but they followed three years of talks between the two parties. Costs reached a total of €26.4m, most of which was covered by Brussels and Bucharest.

Small-scale LNG – an opportunity for Romanian transportation

Compared to oil products, natural gas is clean burning, with virtually no particle and sulphur emissions, close to no NOx emissions, and lower CO2 emissions. Increasingly, it is also more affordable, despite higher logistics costs. Romania should follow the lead of many other countries around the world, and consider incentives for ship and truck owners to switch to natural gas.

No shale gas, after all. Implications of Chevron’s exit from Romania

The story of shale gas in Romania has somewhat been that of a fight. Chevron has had to deal with public opposition and outright protests, including clashes with police; mis- and dis-information, and a lack of understanding about the fracking procedure and its risks; overwhelming bureaucracy and a highly volatile and confusing legal procedure when it comes to unconventional gas drilling in the country, even though no moratorium was ever officially instated, like in neighboring Bulgaria.

The need to update the romanian oil and gas legislation for exploration and production

Energy Policy Group, in partnership with the law firm Pachiu & Associates and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), organized the roundtable discussion - Is it necessary to revise the Romanian oil & gas legislation?

The Ukraine crisis: legal and energy security impact in the Black Sea basin

The present study discusses the legal consequences of Crimea’s annexation by the Russian Federation upon the legal status of the peninsula’s Black Sea offshore (continental shelf and exclusive economic zone), with a focus on hydrocarbon exploration and production activities.

Energy independence vs energy security

For the energy public debate in Romania, there are often two seemingly interchangeable terms – security and energy independence. The two concepts are different, however, and understanding the differences is very important

Romania’s energy security options: 2014 and natural gas market projects

Romania's most important foreign energy policy project, the Nabucco gas pipeline, failed definitively in June 2013, when the competition for the transport of Azerbaijani gas to the EU in favour of the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) project.