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Gazprom has future plans in Romania, Balkans


Russian giant Gazprom has great plans for the future in Romania and in the Balkan region, both as regards the crude production and the marketing of fuels at its own-brand petrol stations, said Vadim Smirnov, the Managing Director for Romania of NIS Petrol, the Serbian division of Gazprom Neft, in an interview with Agerpres.

He said NIS plans to become a very serious player in the Balkans and it is to this end that it enters several local markets, Romania included. Smirnov stressed this is the most important project, given the size of Romania, its population and oil traditions.

Smirnov, 50, was born in Kazakhstan and, during his career, had been employed at the Russian Foreign Ministry, in several Russian companies operating in the Far East and at Russian air carrier Aeroflot.

As for the oil exploration and production sector, the company has uncovered crude oil at a site it holds in the western Romanian county of Timis and it might start producing oil next year, provided it is established that the deposit is commercial, added Smirnov, who joined Gazprom in 2010 and speaks incredibly fluent Romanian.

Smirnov underscored that NIS is not looking for shale gas, as it has been said in the Romanian public lately, since, he explained, the company does not hold licences for such types of activities, nor the technology required for the hydraulic blasts that could establish the existence of possible shale gas in the area. Moreover, he denied the accusations of those saying that Gazprom allegedly stands behind the recent Romanian protests against shale gas fracking.

NIS is interested in fresh concessions in Romania and it will closely examine the sites that the Romanian National Agency for Mineral Resources will put to auction next year. The Serbian division is not interested in Black Sea concessions, since it does not own the required technology, but parent company Gazprom has such an expertise available and it might be interested in the new maritime sites, he added.

As regards fuel marketing, the company plans to bring oil products refined at the Serbian-based processing units, next year, which might mean the petrol and diesel in Gazprom stations could become one of the cheapest in the market. NIS is currently purchasing fuel from OMV and other companies in the market in order to sell it in its own petrol stations.