Romania and fossil gas

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Energy Monitor coverage of fossil gas
Sub-articles:

Romania was one of the largest producers of fossil gas and had one of the largest amounts of proven gas reserves in the European Union in 2021. Romania consumed the 8th largest amount of any EU member state. In part, this is due to Romania "slowly shifting from coal to gas"[1][2] as well as renewables and other sources for energy since 1990.[3]

In 2022, Romania had the second highest estimated cost of future gas infrastructure in the EU: 5,330 million euros coming from pipelines and LNG terminals.[4] Romania's 2,948 kilometers of gas pipelines and 8.2 billion cubic meters per year capacity LNG terminal in-development threaten to lock-in emissions and are a stranded asset risk.[5][4]

Romania's National Energy and Climate plant sets a goal of increasing renewable energy's share in total energy supply and the use of hydrogen in specific sectors.

Fuel mix (fossil fuels vs renewables)

In 2019, Romania derived about 72% of its total energy supply (TES) from fossil fuels. The breakdown can be seen in the table below:[6]

Total Energy Supply of Romania by source, adapted from the IEA[6]
2019 (%) change since 2015 (%)
Oil 29.42 3.41
Natural gas 27.87 0.23
Coal 14.96 -3.25
Biofuels and waste 12.35 0.54
Nuclear 8.96 -0.44
Hydro 4.08 -0.35
Wind, solar, etc. 2.36 -0.14

Romania's National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP) for 2021-2030 set a goal of increasing shares of renewables to a 33% share of gross final energy consumption (GFEC) by 2030.[7] In 2019, Romania reached its 2020 target of 24% renewables shares of GFEC.[2]

In 2021, Romania announced it will increase "the share of renewable energy sources in Romania’s energy mix, through investments in onshore and offshore wind electricity generation, in parallel with the removal of coal from the energy mix by 2032."[3]

Greenhouse gas emissions targets

As of 2020, Romania's per capita CO2 emissions from fuel combustion (3.4 tCO2) were 32nd in Europe.[8]

In 2019, Romania produced 114.33 million tons of GHG emissions -- about 66% of which came from the energy sector.[9]

Compared to 1990 levels, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in Romania are down 57% as of 2019.[9] Total CO2 emissions were down 58.33% over the same time period.[6] GHG emissions fell six percent year between 1990 and 2000 and by 1.1%/year between 2000 and 2019, according to Enerdata.[2]

Romania set a 2030 target for a reduction of GHG emissions by 44% (43.9% under the ETS scheme and two percent for non-ETS emissions[2]) compared to 2005.[10]

Government energy agencies & other key players

National energy agencies

Ministerul Energiei / Ministry of Energy is a shareholder in many Romania energy sector companies.[11]

Ministerul Mediului / Ministry of Environment implements national policy in the fields of environmental protection, green economy, biodiversity, protected natural areas, climate change.[12]

Permitting agencies

Autoritatea Naţională de Reglementare în domeniul Energiei / Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ARNE) grants licenses for the generation of electricity.[13]

Agenţia Naţională pentru Resurse Minerale / National Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR) grants licenses for the production of fuels.[14]

Regulatory agencies

Autoritatea Naţională de Reglementare în domeniul Energiei / Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (ARNE) is the regulatory authority for both electricity and natural gas sectors.[15]

Agenţia Naţională pentru Resurse Minerale / National Agency for Mineral Resources (NAMR) is the regulatory authority for the exploitation of petroleum, ores, coal, water, building materials.[14]

Electric utilities

Transelectrica is the Transmission System Operator (TSO) in Romania.[16][17] Transelectrica manages 8,931.6 km of overhead power lines and 81 electrical substations.[18] As of 2021, Transelectrica was 58.7% state owned, with 41% of shares owned by others.[19]

Operatorul Pieței de Energie Electrică şi de Gaze Naturale (Opcom) is the electricity market administrator.[13][20]

Gas Utilities

National Gas Transmission Company (TRANSGAZ SA) operates Romania's national fossil gas transmission system[21] and is additionally responsible for international transit of gas.[22] Although state-owned, Transgaz was partially privatized in 2007 and 2013.[23] As of November 14, 2019, the Transgaz shareholding structure is as follows: 59% state-owned, 41% "free float".[24]

Leading energy companies

Romgaz and OMV Petrom are among the enterprises active in fossil gas extraction and production in Romania. Romgaz is the largest producer and main supplier of fossil gas in Romania. Romgaz is 70% owned by the Romanian state.[25] OMV Petrom is a subsidiary of OMV Aktiengesellschaft, and is one of the largest corporations in Romania.[26]

Black Sea Oil and Gas (BSOG) is a rival company to OMV Petrom and Romgaz[27] owned by Carlyle International Energy Partners and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.[28]

According to the United States International Trade Administration (USITA), as of 2021 the "major electricity suppliers" active in Romania were: Macquarie Infrastructure, Enel Energie, E.On, and Electrica.[1]

Electricity usage

Installed capacity

As of 2021, Romania's installed capacity was 20,591 MW, with 3,206 MW (16%) coming from gas-fired power plants.[29] The installed generation capacities by generation type from 2020 and 2021 can be seen below:

Installed generation capacities connected to the power grid, according to the National Regulatory Authority for Energy (ANRE)[30][29] Due to rounding, percentages do not add up to 100.
Installed Capacity (MW) Share (%) Installed Capacity (MW) Share (%)
Generation Type 2020[30] 2021[29]
Hydro 6,730 31.4 6,643 32.3
Coal 4,787 23.1 4,787 23.2
Fossil gas 3,240 15.7 3,206 15.6
Wind 3,023 14.6 3,013 14.6
Nuclear 1,413 6.8 1,413 6.9
Solar 1,391 6.7 1,391 6.8
Biomass 112 0.5 107 0.5
Other 25 0.1 31 0.1
Total 20,721 -- 20,591 --

In 2020, according to Enerdata, "gas-fired power generation surged (+26% in 2020) to offset the 20% fall in coal-fired generation."[2] The Romanian Energy Strategy for 2020-2030 "emphasises an increase in gas-fired power generation across the country."[31] Gas power plants with a combined generating capacity of 1,600 MW are planned, as of 2022.[31]

In 2016, Romania's installed capacity totaled 23.94 GW, ranking it 38th in the world.[32] 47% of that capacity came from fossil fuels, 6% from nuclear, 29% from hydro, and 19% from other renewable sources.[33]

In 2019, 69.2% of the country's combined heat and power (CHP) generation (1.3 GW electricity, 4.4 GW heat) was fueled by fossil gas.[9]

The Petrom Brazi power station, with 832 MW of capacity as of 2021, is the largest operational gas-fired power plant in Romania.[34]

As of December of 2021, Romania had 3.2 GW of gas-fired power generation capacity in-development according to the Global Gas Plant Tracker.

Gas plants in Bulgaria, according to the Global Gas Plant Tracker as of 2021.
Gas plants in Romania, according to the Global Gas Plant Tracker as of 2021. Size is proportional to nameplate capacity. Proposed plants are shown in yellow, operating in brown. For more information see the full dataset.[35]

Production

Romania generated 56 TWh of electricity in 2020, sourced 35% from fossil gas. The breakdown of Romania's electricity generation by source, according to the IEA, was as shown below in 2020:[6]

Romania's 2020 Electricity generation by source, adapted from the IEA[6]
Source GWh Share (%) change since 2015 (%)
Hydro 15701 27.99 2.34
Nuclear 11466 20.44 2.88
Natural gas 10046 17.91 3.75
Coal 9581 17.08 -10.40
Wind 6945 12.38 1.73
Solar PV 1733 3.09 0.10
Biofuels 444 0.79 0.00
Oil 174 0.31 -0.40
Total 56,090 100 --

With 56.2 TWh of electricity produced, Romania ranked 18th in Europe in 2020.[36]

With 8.95 TWh of electricity produced from fossil gas, Romania ranked 13th in the Europe Union in 2019.[9]

With 61.78 TWh of electricity produced, Romania ranked 47th in the world in 2016.[33]

In 2019, Romania produced 59.62 Twh of electricity.[9]

Consumption

Romania's gross domestic electricity consumption was 48 TWh in 2020, a decrease of 3.4% compared to 2019.[2]

Romania consumed 49.64 TWh of electricity in 2016, 49th in the world.[33]

Fossil Gas Production, Consumption, Sources and Projects in Romania

Domestic Production

In 2019, Romania's 8.27 Mtoe of fossil gas represented approximately 34% of the nation's 24.53 Mtoe of energy produced.[9]

The domestic production of fossil gas in Romania between 2010 and 2020 is shown below (in bcm and bcf):

Romanian production of fossil gas in bcm, per the 2022 BP statistical review.[36][37]
2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021
Billion Cubic Meters (bcm) 10.0 10.1 10.1 10.0 10.2 10.2 9.1 10.0 10.0 9.6 8.6 8.5
"Operating perimeters map"/"EXPLOATARE ŞI EXPLOATARE PETROLIERĂ" from the Romanian National Agency for Mineral Resources. Fields operated by OMV Petrom are shown in red, Romgaz in green. Other companies' fields are shown in blue.[38]

Romania's 8.7 billion cubic meters of gas produced in 2020 ranks it 5th in Europe (after Norway, the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Ukraine), and accounted for around four percent of production in Europe that year. It also represents a 0.2% share of worldwide production.[36] Romania is the second-largest producer of fossil gas in the EU (after the Netherlands).[36]

Romania's 10.87 billion cubic meters of fossil gas production in 2017 made it the 40th largest producer in the world.[33]

In 2019, Romgaz produced 5.3 bcm of gas and OMV Petrom produced a "majority" of the remaining 4.3 bcm.[39]

As of 2021, production from the Black Sea, if approved (expected within "first months of 2022"), was expected to reach 10 bcm/y,[27] more than 2020 country-wide production and consumption levels.[36] According to the US International Trade Administration, following the Black Sea discoveries and Brexit, Romania has the "potential to dominate the European O&G market."[1] According to an industry group, the development of Black Sea reserves "would make Romania the European Union’s biggest producer of natural gas."[31]

prospecting, exploration, development and operating blocks in romania
Romanian Perimeters of prospecting, exploration, development and operating blocks, from the National Agency for Mineral Resources. Romgaz is shown in green, OMV Petrom in purple. Dated 2014.[40]

Reserves

Large deposits of fossil gas have been identified in the Black Sea. If estimates are accurate and Romania exploits these fields, the country has the potential to nearly double its fossil gas production.

In 2022, Romania moved "towards passing legislation that could finally see it make the most of its vast Black Sea natural gas reserves" in a move to reduce dependence on Russian gas.[31]

Romania held 105 billion cubic meters of proven gas reserve in 2021.[41] At the end of 2020, Romania held 2.8 billion cubic feet (100 billion cubic meters) of proven fossil gas reserves, ranking 5th in Europe.[36][42]

At the start of 2018, Romania held 105.5 billion cubic meters of proven fossil gas reserves, ranking 50th in the world.[33]

As of January 2014, Romania ranked fifth in Europe with 3.7 trillion cubic feet of proven gas reserves.[43]

In 2006, Romania was considered amongst the top four countries in the EU in terms of fossil gas reserves.[44]

Most of Romania's natural gas resources are located in Transylvania, Moldavia, Wallachia and the Black Sea with around 75% being located in Transylvania especially in Mureş and Sibiu counties.[45]

Neptun Deep has the largest gas reserves of any field in Romania.[46] The Black Sea field "is estimated to contain natural gas resources of approximately 42 to 84 billion cubic metres (bcm), which is equivalent to three to six times the annual Romanian consumption," according to 2020 reports.[47] A 2021 article increased that estimate to "about 100 billion cubic meters."[27]

Consumption

In 2020, Romania consumed 11.30 billion cubic meters (bcm) of fossil gas, ranking it 11th in Europe. This consumption represented a 0.3% share of global consumption.[36]

In 2019, Romania consumed 9.24 Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent (Mtoe) of fossil gas, ranking 8th in the European Union.[9]

In 2017, Romania consumed 11.58 bcm of fossil gas, the 45th most in the world.[33]

The growth rate of fossil gas consumption per year between 2009 and 2019, according to BP, was negative 1.4%. Consumption of fossil gas between 2010 and 2020 is shown below (in bcm):

Romanian consumption of fossil gas in bcm, per the 2021 BP statistical review.[36]
2010 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2020
12.5 12.9 12.5 11.4 10.9 10.4 10.5 11.3 11.6 10.7 11.3

Imports & exports

Romania's fossil gas imports and exports from 2006-2019 are shown below (in Million Tonnes of Oil Equivalent (Mtoe)):

Romania imports and exports of fossil gas in Mtoe, per the EU Commission.[9]
2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Imports 1.60 1.82 2.46 2.30 1.17 0.47 0.16 1.18 0.96 1.22 2.16
Exports 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.02 0.02 0.01

Romania imported 2.16 Mtoe of fossil gas in 2019, ranking 17 in the European Union.[9]

Romania exported 0.01 Mtoe of fossil gas in 2019, ranking 14 in the European Union.[9]

Romania imported 1.218 billion cubic meters of fossil gas in 2017, ranking 59th in the world.[32]

Romania exported 22.65 million cubic meters of fossil gas in 2017, ranking 53rd in the world.[32]

In 2012, all of the gas imported in Romania came from Russia, and those imports in turn accounted for 24% of the gas consumed in Romania.[43] As of 2020, most of the imported gas still came from Russia, but Romania's domestic production and demand were matched at around 11-12 bcm/y.[39]

Transport

Map of Gas Infrastructure in Romania
Map of Gas Infrastructure in Romania, from the Development Plan of the National Natural Gas Transmission System for the period 2020-2029[48]

As of 2022, Romania's network of natural gas pipelines spans 13,430 km.[48] A map of the pipelines that make up the network can be found in the Transgaz development reports and in the sidebar.

With 2,526 km of pipeline projects in development, Romania ranked 13th in the world in terms of planned expansion by length in 2021.[49] With 96,228 BOE/d of pipeline projects in development, Romania ranked 38th in the world in terms of planned expansion by capacity in 2020.[50]

The estimated total cost of new gas transport infrastructure (pipelines and LNG terminals) was 13,339 million euros in 2021.[5]

As of August 2021, the three largest domestic gas transport pipeline projects in development were:

Pipelines running domestically in Romania in development as of August 2021, according to the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker.[51]
Pipeline name Status as of August 2021 Expected Start Year Length (KM) FID Status
Black Sea Shore–Podișor Gas Pipeline Proposed 2022 308.00 FID
North–Vest Romania Pipeline Proposed 2022 518.00 Pre-FID
BRUA Gas Pipeline Proposed 2023 843.00 Pre-FID

As of August 2021, the two largest gas international pipeline transport projects in development were:

Pipelines running internationally through Romania, in-development as of September 2021, according to the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker.[51]
Pipeline name Countries Status as of September 2021 Expected Start Year Length (KM) FID Status
White Stream Gas Pipeline Georgia, Romania Proposed 2023 1238.00 --
Eastring Pipeline Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey Proposed 2025 1152.89 Pre-FID

Romanian pipelines in-development, as of 2021 according to GFIT, can be seen on the map below:[51]

Proposed and under construction pipelines in Romania as of 2021, according to the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker. Proposed pipelines are shown in yellow and under-construction plants are shown in red. See the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker Interactive Map for more information


As of 2021, the Constanta LNG Terminal was expected to start up in 2027 with a capacity of six million tons per annum. According to the Global Fossil Infrastructure Tracker it is the first and only LNG terminal in Romania.[51]

Hydrogen

Romania's NECP calls for the integration of hydrogen in its energy and mobility system. It states that the role of hydrogen is expected to slowly increase by 2030. Fuel Cells and Hydrogen Joint Undertaking commissioned a study on the 'Role of Hydrogen in the National Energy and Climate Plans for Romania.' The study suggests that in a high and low scenario between 270 and 480 MW electrolyzer (respectively) will be added to the countries energy system. Most of the hydrogen produced would be used in industry, followed by transport, then buildings and power.[52]

Suspensions of Oil and Gas Exploration in Romania

As of 2022, according to the The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Tracker, Italy has no fossil fuel related moratoria, bans or limits in place.[53]

Moratorium on Shale Gas Exploration

Romania had a moratorium on shale gas exploration through March 2013. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, as of 2014, "public opposition against shale gas exploration remains high and numerous protests have been staged around Romania."[43] In 2015, Chevron renounced its shale gas exploration in the country following "public opposition and outright protest" as well as "overwhelming bureaucracy and a highly confusing legal procedure when it comes to unconventional gas drilling" in Romania.[54]

Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance

Romania did not join the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance (BOGA) at COP26 in 2021.[55][56]

Socio-Economic Impact of the Fossil Gas Industry

Workforce

According to estimates cited by the European Commission, in 2020 there were 25 (9 fewer than 2019) enterprises in the "Extraction of Crude Petroleum & Natural Gas" sector, 5 (-97 compared to 2019) in "Support Activities for Petroleum & Natural Gas Extraction" and 1,703 (+503) in "Electricity, Gas, Steam & Air Conditioning Supply." In 2019, 20,876 people were employed directly in petroleum and fossil gas extraction, but no figure was given for 2020. In 2020 an additional 5,127 (-2 from 2019) people worked in support activities for oil and gas extraction. 64,385 (-257) people were employed in the electricity, gas, steam, and air conditioning supply sector.[57][58]

Opposition to Fossil Infrastructure

Za Zemiata and Greenpeace Bulgaria are among the groups opposing fossil gas infrastructure in Bulgaria.[59]

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