EU asks Romania to adjust gas prices

Publish date: 17-01-2008
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European Commission representatives have asked Romania to fulfill commitments it made during accession negotiations and adjust the price of locally-produced natural gas to the price on the European market. If this is not done, current pricing used by local companies could be considered state aid.

"Romania must change its legislation to comply with the EU treaty," said Ferran Tarradellas, spokesman for EU Energy Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs.

The price recommended by Romania's national gas regulator (ANRGN) for locally-produced natural gas was of RON 470 ($180) per 1,000 cubic meters, last year, while the price of imported natural gas reached $370, due to record-high quotations on foreign markets.

Romania's average annual consumption amounts to some 17 million cubic meters, of which some 62 percent is produced locally. Two companies, oil giant Petrom, owned by Austrian group OMV, and state-owned gas producer Romgaz, supply some 99 percent of domestic gas.

Tarradellas told the NewsIn agency that Romania cannot now argue that it is a gas producer, since it committed to adjust prices during accession talks.

ANRGN officials said the adjustment will be made taking into consideration the ability of the population to cope with higher prices and the possibility of offering support to people with lower incomes.

According to Tarradellas, state aid for low income consumers can be granted, as long as this is approved by Brussels officials.

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