Up to 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas could be produced in the Romanian part of the Black Sea. With Russia's attack on Ukraine, resistance to exploration is crumbling in the country. Bucharest is now giving the green light and attracting investors.
After a long tug-of-war, Romania has cleared the way for natural gas production in the Black Sea. The Chamber of Deputies in Bucharest decided by a large majority to amend a law that has previously kept foreign investors away from the project. The Senate, the highest chamber of parliament, had previously agreed. A possible complaint before the constitutional court by the nationalist opposition party AUR could delay the entry into force. The AUR had voted against the bill in both chambers of Parliament.
It is about an estimated 100 billion cubic meters of natural gas in the Romanian part of the Black Sea continental shelf and gas production projects on the mainland. "We are certain that we can become energy independent within a maximum of five years," said Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca about the new regulation. The planned law change had gained momentum since the start of Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine. Romania currently imports 20 to 30 percent of its gas needs from Russia. According to Economy Minister Virgil Popescu, Romania will in future produce more gas than the country consumes.
Unlike before, investors should be able to freely sell the natural gas produced in Romania in accordance with EU law. There is no obligation to sell a portion of it in Romania. It can only be reintroduced by government decree in the event of a crisis. The previous obligation for natural gas investors to employ Romanian citizens for part of their workforce in Romania has also been removed, as has the obligation to source supplies and services exclusively from Romania or other EU countries. In addition, the progressive taxation of profits was eased: the relevant gas price thresholds were increased. In addition, investors can now deduct more investments from their taxes.