Romgaz, the largest natural gas producer in Romania and one of the largest in Eastern Europe, has no plans to explore shale gas reserves, Romgaz General Director Virgil Metea said at a press conference today.
According to a recent EIA study, Romania holds 51 Tcf of technically recoverable shale gas resources. These, however, are only estimates and, as Mr Metea was keen to point out, the potential of shale gas reserves in Romania is not yet known.
“Romgaz, at this moment, has no objective regarding shale gas. Activity in the traditional fields is sufficiently intense and our investment programs are oriented towards that sector. We are in a situation where we don’t know even the potential of shale gas reserves in Romania. Normally we should know it. Because then we can talk about what exploitation programs can be done, what they are – because the controversy starts here actually (…)
The difference is – and it should be made – that to know your potential is one thing and I believe it is normal for any country to want to know its potential. To exploit or run exploitation programs is different. It may happen that after knowing our potential and going to exploitation, the technical conditions be changed or improved”, said Virgil Metea.
Romania has nine crude oil refineries with a total capacity of 467,642 barrels per day (bbl/d), which is among the largest refining capacities in Eastern Europe. Although Romania’s refineries operate below capacity, refinery output exceeds domestic consumption allowing the country to export the surplus petroleum products.
Dry natural gas production, however, has declined steadily over the past three decades, from its peak of 1.4 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) in 1983 to 375 billion cubic feet in 2012. Romania imports most of its gas from Russia.
The Government of Romania announced earlier this month that it’s working on a new method of taxation on hydrocarbon extraction. The new tax law is to be passed in November this year, after the presidential elections.
Chevron is the only foreign company currently involved in shale gas exploration in Romania. The company has the rights to extract shale gas from a combined area of 870,000 hectares around Bârlad, as well as from several areas in Dobruja (Adamclisi, Vama Veche and Costinești), under 30-year contracts that can be extended for another 15 years.
The exploratory drillings were supposed to start in October 2013 in Pungești, Vaslui County, however, following protests both in the village and in Bucharest, Chevron decided to suspend its activities
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