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Romania backing in Brussels completion of Vertical Gas Corridor, EU's Energy Platform

July 21, 2022

The completion of the Vertical Gas Corridor and the operationalization of the EU's Energy Platform for the joint purchase of gas are among the directions that have Romania's backing in Brussels, Energy Minister Virgil Popescu wrote on Monday evening on Facebook.Popescu attended on Monday the Energy Council's meeting in Luxembourg, organized for the continuation of European discussions on the natural gas and energy supply security.Europe is going through a period of geopolitical, humanitarian and energy challenges. Ensuring primary resources for the next period while reducing dependence on energy imports from Russia is our priority mission. This is directly linked to ensuring an affordable energy price for the population, the Romanian official said."Since the last ministerial meeting in May, Europe has been working on concrete plans and actions to strengthen the independence and resilience of its energy systems - the REPowerEU plan and the sixth package of sanctions limiting imports of crude oil and petroleum products from Russia. For the next period, Europe intends to increase energy efficiency, speed up the development of renewable sources, finance infrastructure projects in the field of natural gas and diversify supply sources," the Minister said.Romania, in its turn, relies on a balanced energy mix. The development of the domestic production of natural gas, nuclear energy and the increase of the share of renewable energy coupled with energy efficiency measures are the strategic coordinates for the next period.Romania has recently started to capitalize on the resources in the Black Sea shallow perimeters, with an estimated potential of 1 billion cubic meters per year, which represents approximately 10 percent of Romania's gas consumption. Through the full takeover by Romgaz of ExxonMobil's stake in the Neptun Deep Black Sea offshore gas project, Romania also intends to start the operation in the said perimeter, in the perspective of 2026.Nuclear projects continue according to the established plan (the refurbishment of Unit 1, building Units 3 and 4); also, Romania recently announced the potential location of its first small modular reactor, at Doicesti - Dambovita County.Romania is replenishing its gas stocks for next winter and coordination with the regional group created in Sofia as part of the EU's Energy Platform is also important in this regard."In the first part of the meeting, together with the other member states, we adopted the Council's negotiating position on the revised forms of the directives on energy efficiency and the promotion of energy from renewable sources, as key elements of the EU's energy security. The two directives will help increase the share of renewable energy sources and contribute to the more efficient use of resources, both resulting in the cut of energy prices for consumers. The two revised directives adopted at Council level shall enter the interinstitutional negotiation stage between the European Parliament and the Council," Popescu added.In the second part of the meeting, the member states discussed energy security amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and preparations for next winter.From Romania's perspective, five strategic directions of action need to be followed in the next period: increasing production from domestic sources in a technology-neutral manner; replenishing gas stocks for the following winter to at least 80 percent; strengthening the natural gas transport and storage infrastructure - completing the Vertical Gas Corridor (Greece-Bulgaria-Romania) and using the Trans-Balkan Corridor (Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova); rendering operational the EU's Energy Platform for the joint purchase of natural gas; stable and affordable energy for consumers.Romania remains a staunch supporter of solidarity among member states and of energy cooperation, Popescu concludes.   

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