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Decision to drop Nabucco project is economic, geopolitical, PM Ponta says

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Dropping Nabucco gas pipeline project and selecting the TAP (Trans Adriatic Pipeline) represents an economic and geopolitical decision, visiting Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta said on Monday.

'I am glad those in Romania have begun learning too. I saw an interview today with Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, who was also clearing things for those in Romania, who were talking nonsense, who were saying that Nabucco hasn't been achieved because Bucharest has failed to do I do not know what and I hope that those who did not understand what happened, will now begin to understand. It was an economic, geopolitical decision, but we should not complain, we should get ready for the other options', Ponta said in Shenzhen.

Austrian Oil Group OMV announced last Wednesday that Nabucco West gas pipeline project had not been selected by Shah Deniz II consortium for supplying natural gas from Azerbaijan. Nabucco West project, in which Romania participated by state company Transgaz, lost the competition for the Azeri natural gas to project Trans Adriatic Pipeline (TAP).

The aircraft carrying Ponta already took off from Shenzhen to Beijing, in spite of a typhoon having hit the region. The Romanian prime minister was on an Asian tour over June 26-July 3 that also took him to Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

 

Selection of TAP over Nabucco pipeline, a big strategic game, out of Bucharest's hands

 

The option for the TAP gas transit pipeline over Nabucco was out of Bucharest's hands, and was part of a big strategic game, Prime Minister Victor Ponta declared during a call-in at the public television broadcaster; the Premier said that Romania now has the chance to capitalize on its own resources.

'It didn't depend on us. I saw some ... what should I call them, absolutely foolish approaches by the Romanian media and the opposition as well, that Bucharest did I don't know what. This had nothing to do with Bucharest's. This was a project implying Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Austria, Hungary, Poland, the Czech Republic, in other words the entire Central Europe. Economic, and probably not just economic considerations, determined Azerbaijan and British Petroleum, which is actually one of the largest investors in Russia, to choose the Greece - Italy route in the end. So this was in no way in the hands of Bucharest, or of Vienna, Sofia or Budapest either. It had to do with a big strategic game, but Romania now has a an extraordinary chance: it has its own resources which cover not only our own consumption, but can also meet the consumption needs of the Republic of Moldova (...) and of other surrounding countries,' said Prime Minister Ponta.

He added that the price of Azeri gas would not have necessarily been far lower than that charged by Gazprom, but represented some sort of competition the market required.

The Premier pointed to Romania's resources, to the Black Sea gas deposits and its shale gas potential.

'We have all the more reason to understand that Romania's future depends on our own resources that mean the gas deposits and resources in the Black Sea, where Exxon, OMV and Romgaz have already struck gas, they are now moving from exploration to exploitation so that in 2018 - therefore even earlier than in the Nabucco variant - we can get our own gas supplies from the Black Sea, and there are also the shale gas resources Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Spain and the UK are currently exploring. In three or four years we will know for sure if they are there or not, and if they are, gas tariffs in Romania will be cut down just as the US did, reducing the tariffs 25%,' Victor Ponta said.

Prime Minister Victor Ponta last Thursday pleaded in Baku, during a meeting with First Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Yagub Eyyubov, for 'successful economic relations,' stating that he understands the economic motivation behind Azerbaijan's choosing the TAP project to the detriment of Nabucco, and that Romania and Azerbaijan should continue to develop together the AGRI project.

Austria's oil and gas company OMV last Wednesday reported that the project for the Nabucco West pipeline was rejected by the Shah Deniz II consortium for the supply of Azeri natural gas. The Nabucco West project, where Romania was represented by the country's national gas transmission corporation Transgaz, lost the competition to the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline (TAP) project.

 

MP Iancu: Romania is losing safety and security because of Nabucco failure

 

The failure of the Nabucco gas pipeline project means to the Romanian State the loss of a security component as a result of the alternative source it could have offered, and on the other hand it means the loss of a chance for lower natural gas prices, because Azerbaijan would have offered the least expensive natural gas in the area, Chairman of the Committee on Industry and Services of the Romanian Chamber of Deputies Iulian Iancu said Thursday.

Iancu argued that the decision to discard the Nabucco project was geopolitical and geostrategic rather than commercial.

'So, there is a price impact on the Romanian consumers, and also an impact on the balance in relation to Gazprom, which continues an artificial push on prices that has nothing to do with price or market reasons,' Iancu told a debate on the gas market.

He added that he is no longer optimistic about the AGRI project, where similar influences to those felt in Nabucco case will be felt. Moroever, Iancu added that the AGRI project has some financial disadvantages.

He mentioned that given the current circumstances, Romania has to resort to a plan B, which means recovering its energy policies.

'What it is left to us to do is focus on speeding up the exploitation of conventional natural gas fields, particularly on the Black Sea shelf and the mature deposits on land. This means that the 300 billion cubic metres of gas estimated to exist in the Black Sea could offer Romania a chance of becoming independent from Russian imports in 2020-2030. There is no chance of doing so by 2020. We may put something in place, but we cannot discard imports. Yet, starting in 2020 or 2030, we could totally replace today's imports and Romania will save itself by using such deposits,' said Iancu.

The MP on Thursday attended a seminar on Romania's gas market and the reform of natural gas.

 

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