BUCHAREST (Romania), April 27 (SeeNews) - Romania will be able to start exporting natural gas from the Black Sea offshore project Neptun Deep in 2027, prime minister Nicolae Ciuca said on Wednesday.
"Once the deep-sea gas from the Black Sea platform Neptune is extracted at the end of 2026-beginning of 2027, Romania will be able to export gas," Ciuca said during a live-streamed press conference.
Ciuca added that the Black Sea gas can also be used to boost the local petrochemical industry.
In March, natural gas producer Romgaz's board of directors approved the acquisition of 100% of ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Limited, the holder of 50% of the rights and obligations under the concession agreement for petroleum exploration, development and production in XIX Neptun Deep Block. The other half of the rights and obligations under the Neptun concession is held by oil and gas group OMV Petrom.
According to the prime minister, Romania is not affected by Russia's Gazprom decision to halt natural gas deliveries to Bulgaria and Poland, but is currently looking for alternative sources.
"Romania is not affected at this moment. Gas consumption is far below the production capacity we have. You know very well that we are one of the few countries in Europe that benefits from a consistent gas resource, although not enough to meet our total need."
"In the winter period we import about 20% of the necessary natural gas. We are currently looking for alternative sources of gas supply."
In March, Romanian president Klaus Iohannis and his Bulgarian counterpart Rumen Radev highlighted the crucial importance of putting into operation a Bulgaria-Greece gas interconnection for reducing their dependence on Russian gas supplies.
"With the increasing need to reduce energy reliance on the Russian Federation, we discussed the diversification of energy sources and transport routes," Iohannis said at the time.
The Bulgaria-Greece gas pipeline has completed its connection to the Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP), allowing for supplies from Azerbaijan that arrive in Greek ports to flow to Italy and the wider Southeast European (SEE) region, project developer ICGB said in March.
The interconnector could see its maximum capacity driven up to a total of 5 billion cu m per year, in the context of rising geopolitical instability due to the military conflict in Ukraine. The pipeline could also link to planned and existing LNG terminals in the region, ICGB added. The interconnector is the only pipeline which directly connects Bulgaria’s natural gas market with the Southern Gas Corridor.
Also in March, Bulgarian prime minister Kiril Petkov said the interconnector could enter operation in September.
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