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BUCHAREST (Romania), April 17 (SeeNews) - Romania's top oil and gas group OMV Petrom [BSE:SNP] said on Wednesday it has received a 60,000 lei ($14,250/12,600 euro) fine from the National Environmental Guard for transporting gas and petroleum via a pipeline at Midia processing plant without holding a renewed environmental permit, and was requested to suspend work at the plant until it obtains the permit.
A possible shutdown of the plant would lead to a complete halt of Black Sea production, currently at around 25,000 boe per day, OMV Petrom said in a statement filed with the Bucharest Stock Exchange, BVB.
The company has challenged in court both the fine and the request to suspend activity, and until the court comes up with a final decision the measure issued by the Environmental Guard is being suspended, it added.
OMV Petrom, whose environmental permit expired in December, applied for a new permit in October 2018.
The permit renewal process was prolonged more than expected due to additional requests by the competent environmental authority, OMV Petrom said.
At the end of March, following complaints by local residents about land being contaminated with petroleum residues, the National Environmental Guard started an investigation in the area of Vadu-Corbu. According to its conclusions, made public by the National Environmental Guard, the land pollution could not be linked to OMV Petrom's activities in the area, the company said.
On Monday, OMV PEtrom said that its new polyfuel unit at the Petrobrazi refinery has started production following a total investment of 65 million euro ($73.5 million).
OMV Petrom is the largest energy company in SEE with an annual hydrocarbon production of 58.3 million boe in 2018. The group also operates an 860 MW high-efficiency power plant. The group is present on the oil products retail markets in Romania and neighbouring countries through 794 filling stations as at the end of 2018, under two brands – OMV and Petrom.
The Midia processing plant has been in operation since 1989.
Shares of blue-chip OMV Petrom traded 0.41% lower at 0.3645 lei as at 1301 CET on Wednesday on the Bucharest Stock Exchange.
(1 euro=4.7622 lei)