Talking to Experts: PhD Associate Professor Eng. Alin Dinita

Rector of the Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti – PhD Associate Professor Eng. Alin Dinita, recently re-elected as head of the university for a new five-year term, talks about the challenges of the coming period in the oil and gas sector in the complicated geopolitical and economic context of the region.

Dear Mr. Dinita, OPEC’s latest estimates show a significant increase in oil demand in 2024. Energy experts also say the global economy is likely to perform better than expected this year. From your experience in the oil & gas sector, what is your take on the evolution of this industry globally, but especially in the region, due to the complicated geopolitical context? How do you see the oil & gas market rebalancing in the near future?

Alin Dinita: The evolution of the oil & gas industry is permanently linked to the growth of the global economy for several reasons, starting with the link between high energy consumption associated with economic growth and ending with a growing demand for oil and gas, globally important resources. As world economies expand, the dependence on new infrastructure increases, so these economically significant projects require significant amounts of oil and gas.

Given that many countries depend on the export of these natural resources to balance their financial resources, it is clear that there is a direct interdependence between the world economy and the international oil & gas market, so any fluctuation in the economy impacts the oil & gas sector. In Romania, a revival of the chemical industry is expected, especially in the field of fertilisers which are essential for soil fertility and plant growth, which will lead to a significant increase in natural gas consumption and thus in the economy.

I believe that the main way to rebalance the oil & gas market is technological innovation to produce energy with an extremely low carbon footprint so that the extraction, refining and use of oil and gas can further assist mankind in implementing a smooth transition to a green environment.

Bearing in mind that oil & gas are the main protagonists in the global energy field, we can state that the contribution of the oil and gas industry to this energy is an essential constant in terms of the growth of the world economy, thus the connected interactive system world economy – oil & gas sector is absolutely necessary for economic progress and ensuring international sustainable development.


In the light of the European Union regulations included in the Fit for 55 Package, the oil & gas sector is undergoing significant changes. What are the most important challenges currently facing the oil & gas industry in Romania?

Alin Dinita: Tackling climate change and moving towards circular and sustainable economies are among the main objectives of the EU’s Fit for 55 Package. This package adopted at EU level sets a bold target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030 and achieving climate neutrality (0% carbon emissions) by 2050. All these bold EU targets will significantly influence the oil & gas industry, Fit for 55 regulations including reducing the level of energy from polluting sources and encouraging so-called green energy (solar, wind, biomass, hydro, nuclear etc.).

Unfortunately, in the collective mind of the European Union, the idea is emerging that the oil & gas industry is equivalent only to the production of fuels used in different sectors of industry. We should not forget that, indirectly or directly, this industry contributes to almost all the products we use every day (cosmetics, paints, medicines, fertilisers, tyres etc.).

Romania, taking into account the strategically important projects it is developing in this field, tends to become an energy pole of Europe, so this transition to Fit for 55 must encourage decision-makers in the sector to promote investments in ‘cleaning’ oil extraction, transport and processing technologies, so as to reduce the carbon footprint of these technologies as much as possible, especially CO2 emissions.

It is clear that, in Romania, the economic and even psychological impact on the oil and gas industry is significant, which will contribute to a new positioning of large companies in this energy sector of great importance for the country’s economy, so that they can respond proactively to this green transition by implementing sustainable business models, with massive investments in the digitalisation of all technologies used, by developing and using green hydrogen or by methods of carbon capture, storage and disposal.

I believe that the main challenge to be met by the oil and gas industry in Romania is the remodelling of the infrastructure, which is sometimes technically outdated, as companies in the sector have recently been investing significant sums to improve and adapt to the new regulations imposed by the EU to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Another aspect is the continuous dynamics in the area of regulations and legislative framework towards safety and environmental standards, regulations to which companies have to adapt and which also require massive investments to adapt and comply.

The oil and gas industry in Romania is influenced, like other markets, by the evolution and fluctuations of demand and price volatility on international markets, the main challenge being the ability of companies to effectively manage these dynamics to ensure the sustainability of the oil & gas sector.

There are no miracle solutions, so Romania, in view of the importance given by the oil & gas industry to the sustainability of the Romanian economy, must adopt a national strategy to adapt to global energy trends and ensure an innovative and sustainable transition towards the Fit for 55 objectives.


On the one hand, the wider Black Sea region has huge potential for hydrocarbon extraction, on the other hand, within this geographical area, there are several conflicts. Will Romania succeed in monetising the commercial and energy value of the Pontus Euxinus?

Alin Dinita: Confirmation that the Black Sea is an extremely rich area in hydrocarbons, especially natural gas, was obtained as early as 2012, when the Domino-1 well confirmed the potential of this region. The volumes of gas extracted will be used for electricity generation so that we can reduce carbon emissions, which does not mean that this exploitation will have a 100% negative carbon footprint, but it will contribute significantly to both the country’s energy independence and economic growth.

The main aspect influencing Romania’s ability to manage hydrocarbon reserves in the Black Sea region is the complex geopolitical environment, especially in view of the armed conflict at the borders and the uncertainties about the outcome of these disputes. Political and military disputes are negatively affecting the future of these developments given the challenges and difficulties of exploiting these reservoirs in an area of armed conflict.

Working with NATO and EU partners to ensure security in the Black Sea – Pontus Euxinus region is a certainty for the future of these exploitations. Romania’s current defence capabilities and its membership in various security assurance systems are a factor of optimism when we think about the future of energy, supported by the hydrocarbon fields in this area.

Of course, a possible escalation of the armed conflict in the Romanian area will negatively influence the ability of companies to extract and use these reserves, so I believe that we must focus our efforts on diplomacy and dialogue to maintain cooperative relations in order to ensure a favourable future for both our country and Europe.


What important changes have taken place in the strategy and concerns of the Petroleum-Gas University in the recent period and what are the major directions of development for the future?

Alin Dinita: The Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti celebrated, in 2023, 75 years of excellence in education and research, closely linked to the oil & gas industry in Romania. “The energy spirit” of the Romanians dates back to 1876, when in Rafov, near Ploiesti, brothers Teodor and Marin Mehedinteanu built the first refinery in the world with a production of 275 tons of crude oil. Of course, the University has built its history on a solid foundation of experience in the oil & gas industry, so the academic community honours the past, but will also embrace future challenges with patience, courage, and innovation.

The main development directions of the Petroleum-Gas University of Ploiesti are closely related to the strategies of the major companies in this energy sector, taking into account both the dynamics imposed by climate neutrality and the need for energy of a country that is discovering every day that it can become extremely competitive with other countries in the European Union.

The research concerns are guided both towards technologies for extracting, processing, and using hydrocarbons with the smallest possible carbon footprint and in the area of hydrogen use in natural gas transmission, with the university involved in various pilot projects, including in the area of CO2 capture and storage.

The main challenge for PGU Ploiesti is to adapt the academic curriculum to the changes imposed by the future transition to renewable energy. With the experience and expertise of 75 years of research and innovation, I am convinced that the entire academic community is able to cope with this dynamic in the energy sector and create degree programmes that will allow future students to access a future where they can add value to Romania.


How do you see the institution you lead, at the end of your mandate, in five years’ time?

Alin Dinita: A 5-year mandate gives you the opportunity to initiate major changes both in the academic community and in the perception of high school graduates and parents about the university environment in Ploiesti.

Through a strong partnership with the local authorities, I want to be able to increase the prestige of Ploiesti by raising the awareness of its inhabitants about the influence and advantages of having a prestigious university. A soul project of the end of the mandate is to improve the collective memory of the inhabitants of this beautiful and important city by increasing the pride of being a citizen in “Ploiesti – University City”.

At the end of the 5 years of mandate, the University will become a much more ‘colourful’ place by creating a sense of student-teacher family and by creating a learning environment adapted especially to the need for interpersonal communication, a need that is becoming more and more intense due to the massive digitalisation of the educational process.

Finally, in order to highlight the importance of education in the progress of mankind and especially the need for knowledge and skills necessary to overcome political, religious and social barriers, bearing in mind the current international geopolitical context, we must remember and be guided by the words spoken by Confucius – “Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace.”

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