‘Black Sea in the New Economy’

The Last Train to Energy Independence

The debate ‘Black Sea in the New Economy’, an event organized by România Durabilă and EM360, attended by numerous experts in the economic and political environment, has highlighted the importance of Black Sea gas reserves for the economy, for the energy security of the country and the current geopolitical implications.


Romania is facing a maturity test. In the troubled waters of the Black Sea there is a rich resource of natural gas that will ensure our energy independence for many years from now on, but also the economic development we need.

Unfortunately, the tide of opinion started from a restricted group with obscure interests that it’s better not to extract these resources has expanded. This, although we have all the economic, social and geopolitical arguments to do it, and its exploitation is supported by a large majority of Romanians in opinion polls. 2020 is the year of the political decision of giving green light or bury forever, in the depths of the Black Sea, these resources we have been blessed with.

“If Romania takes the right steps that so far it has delayed taking, it is an unprecedented opportunity. We don’t have much time available and not necessarily because of the Green Deal, but also because the interests of our neighbours are not always aligned with ours,” said Adrian Maniutiu, journalist and entrepreneur at EM360, moderator of the event together with Daniel Apostol, economic journalist, founder of Romania Durabila, External Affairs Director at FPPG.

It is only up to us whether in the following decades we continue to import gas from the East. What blocks this strategic project and how can it be unlocked? Can this political class jump over its own shadow and take a fundamental decision for Romania’s future in an electoral context? And, especially, who will answer from a political point of view for missing this strategic project, which we are about to miss? Who will be held responsible for such failure?

The participants tried finding not only answers, but also solutions to these questions, during the debate.

“We live with the hope that things will get back to normal, that we will find together – politicians, industry, regulators – a balance that gives us the chance of huge opportunity for the whole country,” says Vasile Ciolpan, Director of the Energy Trading Directorate at Romgaz, referring to Black Sea gas.

The oil and gas industry has always been one of the economic drivers of Romania. Unlocking exploitation means huge benefits for the country. If Black Sea gas resources remain underground, imports can reach 40% in 2030, according to Transgaz estimate, said Alina Popa, member of the Executive Board of OMV Petrom.

Projections for gas consumption in the EU show a sharp decline in demand for this fuel after 2030 as we move towards 2050 climate neutrality targets, said Christian Egenhofer, Senior Research Fellow in the Department of Energy, Resources and Climate Change within the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), a think tank based in Brussels.

Andreea Mitirita, PWC Partner, presented during the webinar ‘Black Sea in the New Economy’ the recommended path from a fiscal point of view that Romania should follow to ensure a higher gain from the exploitation of offshore resources. Revenues generated to the state budget would relaunch Romania’s economy.

Attending the webinar ‘Black Sea in the New Economy’, lawyer Laurentiu Pachiu, partner at David & Baias, analyses the project of offshore natural resources. The conclusion is that we have already missed the chance of increasing the level of geostrategic security in the region by continuously delaying the project, due to legislation lacking predictability and a tax policy unfair for investors. This in the context where Romanians truly want to unlock the project and start the exploitation of natural gas that belongs to us.

Does Black Sea gas represent a lifeline for Romania’s economy? Cristian Paun, researcher within ASE & ASPES, believes it does. The new study he presented within the online conference indicates some figures that could give us hope if the exploitation of Black Sea resources were to begin. On the other hand, slowing down the project would lead to a significant decrease in state revenues.

Who is responsible for blocking the project of exploitation of Black Sea offshore resources? How was it possible for misinformation, populism and propaganda to overshadow the huge benefits that gas exploitation would have brought to Romania? Radu Dudau, Executive Director of Energy Policy Group, managed to hit the spot during the webinar ‘Black Sea in the New Economy’.

It is necessary for the representatives of the political class to sit at the same table and understand that the problem of the Black Sea, the energy problem of Romania, is a common problem. It is up to us exclusively whether in the coming decades we will continue to import natural gas from the East. Even young people from politics and local administration say it.

One of the most important topics for Romania, both from an economic point of view and from a geostrategic point of view: the BLACK SEA. A topic that has been debated for many years, unfortunately without any conclusion. The decision that would transform the offshore resources into the lifeline of the Romanian economy is missing, all this in a context difficult to manage from the point of view of the transition to a decarbonized future.

THE NEW ECONOMY is an approach initiated by Romania Durabila and EM360, which supports a permanent dialogue between the Executive and the business environment.

Media partners of the event ‘Black Sea in the New Economy’: Agerpres, Profit.ro, Money.ro, Financial Intelligence, Europa FM, E-nergia.ro, InvesTenergy, Energy Industry Review, Energy Center, Focus Energetic, The Diplomat, G4Media.ro, Economistul, Club Economic.

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