Because of frost, Romania boosts gas imports from Russia

Publish date: 28-01-2010
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Romania increases its natural gas imports from Russia by 2 million cubic meters, to 12 million cu.m. a day, state secretary Tudor Serban announced. "I had a phone talk with Gazprom and asked for an increase of imports, so that we secure the operation of the gas system in good conditions. Anyway, we fare much better than yesterday, but I requested imports to be supplemented also on Wednesday, to avoid any problem," Serban added.

Also Electricity consumption in Romania on Monday night reached the maximum of the last years, at 9,300 MegaWatt - a spike caused by the very cold weather. The Government authorized 21 companies, including Termoelectrica, Electrocentrale Bucharest, RAAN, the energy complexes of Craiova, Turceni and Rovinari, and many co-generation plants (CET) to borrow from the state reserve, until 31 October 2010, 1.9 bln tons of coal and 172.9 mln. tons of fuel oil.

The coordinating commission for security in the supply of natural gas on Monday called a state of emergency in economy, because of very low temperatures, a measure that allows cutting the gas for some companies, while the producers of thermal energy will switch to alternative fuels. Declaring the state of emergency implies cutting the gas supply to interruptible consumers and switching co-generation plants to alternate fuels, in order to secure the gas, thermal energy and hot water to population.

The measure was demanded by Transgaz officials, following problems in providing all the natural gas required by consumers. Official sources told Mediafax that the Government will resort to the emergency stocks of fuel oil in the state reserve, which will be provided to energy producers as alternative fuel, if the supply of natural gas is cut during the next days. The average temperature at country level dropped to -17.9 Celsius degrees on Monday morning. Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said Romania has enough natural gas in storage, but problems may appear because of low pressure in gas pipes.

Biggest consumers report significant losses

Transgaz yesterday announced it has cut or limited gas supply to interruptible consumers, as of January 15, because of low gas pressure in pipes. Such consumers are Electrocentrale Bucharest, the chemical works Interagro, Alum Tulcea, Azomures Tg. Mures and Upsom Ocna Mures. "We also reduced the consumption of six CET units and Doljchim Craiova," Transgaz officials added.

Ioan Niculae, who controls the Interagro group of companies, accused authorities that they did not foresee this situation. Because of this, his chemical plants accumulated losses of USD 10 M. Calling the emergency situation in the energy system allows the cancellation of commercial contracts, so companies will not be able to claim damages. The current natural gas demand amounts to 83 M cubic meters each day.

The deputy CEO of Transgaz, Ioan Rusu insisted on explaining that his company will not run into financial trouble following the extreme cold experienced these days and the calling of the state of emergency.

Price of natural gas to increase in April

The price of natural gas will increase in April, and the people who have financial trouble will receive support to pay their energy bills, the state secretary in the Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business Environment, Tudor Serban announced.

"Starting this April, we will no longer be able to sustain the pressure on the price. The European Commission asked us to prepare graphs for 2012-2013," Serban explained. Until March this year, Bucharest authorities must submit to the EC a program on liberalizing the price of Romanian-produced natural gas, at the request of the European Union's executive.

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