Probably one of the most important actions in the natural gas sector in 2023 (next to the decision to invest in the Black Sea) – the takeover by Transgaz of the operation of the National Gas Transmission System in the Republic of Moldova – goes almost unnoticed in Romania. Just as another important Romanian achievement, of a state-owned company in 2022, was not visible, with Exxon’s exit from the joint venture for the exploitation of Neptun Deep field.
The takeover of the operation of the National Gas Transmission System of the Republic of Moldova, through Transgaz’s subsidiary in the Republic of Moldova, Vestmoldtransgaz SRL, the company that operates, exploits, and dispatches the Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline, represents the first exit of a Romanian strategic energy company outside Romania to take over the operation of another country’s system. Romania was the last country in the EU, in terms of companies operating in the natural gas sector outside the country, with companies operating exclusively in Romania.
While countries such as Hungary – through its national companies MET/MOL and the Czech Republic through its national company CEZ, operate almost all over Europe, Romania had national gas operating companies focused exclusively on the domestic market. This despite the fact that:
- although Romania was a pioneer of the global gas industry (the third largest natural gas market in the world has developed on Romania’s current territory),
- although Romania was a pioneer in countless gas activities at the European level (first steel gas transmission pipeline, first gas export, first gas compressor station, first gas regulation and metering station, first underground gas storage facility),
for 33 years it had been focused exclusively on domestic actions.
This success is all the more important as it occurs in an area dominated by the largest gas player in the world – GAZPROM – which also owns the majority stake in the company that used to operate the transmission system in the Republic of Moldova – Moldovatransgaz.
My personal experience in the intention of collaborating with this company, from the various official positions I have held, has resulted in exclusively negative responses.
It is important to understand that such successes must be supported and, above all, they must be transformed into long-term successful activities, which will bring satisfaction to customers in the Republic of Moldova, as well as benefits to the company’s shareholders and Romanians in general.