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Romania has not yet approved National Energy Strategy defining objectives of natural gas sector

Romania has not yet approved a National Energy Strategy (SEN), which defines the medium and long term objectives of the natural gas sector and the ways to achieve them, in order to ensure the sustainable development of the national economy, informs a performance audit on the implementation of strategies and policies in the field of natural gas investment and production, conducted between February 2022 and May 2023, by the Court of Accounts.

During the audit engagement , which covered the period 2017-2021, the auditors found that the Ministry of Energy did not monitor the achievement of the objectives set by the old strategic document (SEN 2007-2020), which expired almost three years ago.

Domestic gas production decreased by 16.81% between 2017-2021, while the amount imported more than tripled during the audited period. Due to the higher volume of imported gas, a deficit in the national trade balance of 2.056 billion euros (import of 2.335 billion euros - export of 279.5 million euros) was recorded in 2017-2021.

The Court of Accounts mentions that the National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM) has not initiated public calls for tenders for the concession of oil operations since 2010, although it has been noted that there are free geographical areas for the concession of operations (68 perimeters).

Investments in the construction of natural gas distribution networks were not completed in all cases within the agreed deadlines, nor were investments in the development of storage facilities carried out at the planned level.

Among the positive aspects noted during the audit were the unblocking of the offshore gas exploitation projects in the Black Sea and the achievement of the objective to involve Romgaz SA in the Neptun Deep project, the increase in the length of the transmission pipelines by 6.81% (906.5 km), the exceeding of the drilling work programmes undertaken by Romgaz SA within the exploration programmes (141.86% completion rate).