The oil and gas reserves of Romania are a continuous source of controversy. If by statements like “we won’t sell our country” that were said before selling Petrom in 2004, the economic support disappears, the money that the state received from the exploitation of these resources can easily be contested.
Thus the Romanian state wishes to receive 850 million lei (about 360 million dollars) from the exploitation contracts of these resources. The amount is insignificant compared to the value of oil extracted from Romanian soil. Romania produces about 7 million tons of oil every year.
Considering a price of 110 dollars per barrel, the value of this quantity would rise to 5,77 billion dollars. In other words, the state receives only 6,3% from the value of extracted oil.
Next week (on 28th of March), the National Agency of Mineral Resources (ANRM) will announce the winning company for some 15 new extraction platforms the state wishes to contract.
Among the beneficiaries we find Amromco Energy, Aurelian Oil&Gas, Blackstairs, Brent, Expert Petroleum, Fora, Foraj Craiova, Grupul Industrial Român, Sigma and Zeta. Initially, ANRM had offered 26 platforms to exploitation but only 15 of these have appealed to the investors.
18 platforms have been contracted last year with Amroco winning the auction for eight of them. These are the platforms that Petrom and Romgaz (companies that monopolize the Romanian market) have given up.
Petrom, which was bought by OMV in 2004, is a gold mine. It allowed the Austrian group to handle the most important exploitation areas that OMV currently holds.
On the other hand, Romgaz represents a state monopole, that had a 250 million euros profit last year. Romgaz is operating some platforms in partnership with companies like Wintershall, Aurelian Oil&Gas or Europa Oil&Gas. Out of the contracts, the state received only 728 million lei in 2006 and a little more in 2007 (797,42 million lei).
This year, the Romanian state is due to receive 850 million lei.
No room for competition
Shell’s famous failure in the Romanian market has discouraged a probable competition for Petrom, who recently discovered a new oil reserve in the Black Sea, and gas resources in the central region of the country.
Also, the German Wintershall group is operating the Sighisoara gas field for Petrom.
Romania’s resources are now estimated at 2.600 million tons of oil and 1.800 billion cubic meters of gas, from which 650 million tons of oil and 1.050 billion cm of gases have been exploited.