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 petrochemistry.

The draft of the Energy Strategy 2016- 2030, with an Outlook to 2050 confers natural gas a prime role in the coming decades as well. In 2030, according to the projection made using the PRIMES model, gas will account for 26% of final energy demand which, despite a slight decrease compared to 2015, will still mean it is first. The relative decrease of 3% will be found in the increase of the RES share, which will reach 22%. By 2030, about 1800 MW of gas-powered generation capacity will have to be replaced, in order for the gas-based capacity pool to maintain its current size.

The Black Sea gas fields are a national project of strategic importance, for many reasons: to ensure energy security by maintaining a low level of dependence on imports, as shown also by the stress test carried out in the making of the new energy strategy; for the contribution in economic value, job creation, know-how and technology transfer, as well as for the overall regional importance of Romania as a potential exporter of energy. Undoubtedly, Romania can become a regional gas trading hub.

To achieve these strategic objectives, it is necessary to build the internal gas market by developing the needed infrastructure and creating a competitive, transparent and nondiscriminatory trading framework. In this respect, the Government Emergency Ordinance (GOE) No. 64/2016, which entered into force on April 1, 2017, brought about significant progress by liberalizing the wholesale segment of the gas market and by establishing a mandatory trading quota on the organized markets.

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