Romania offshore gas law plays with fire

Romania’s untapped oil and gas potential of up to 200 billion cubic meters, or bcm, in the Black Sea has attracted the interest of the world’s oil and gas majors, including US giant ExxonMobil and Austria’s OMV Petrom.

Romania already covers almost all its gas use from its domestic onshore production and could double that over the next two decades when — or perhaps now if — offshore sources are added to supply.

The Eastern European country produces 10.5 bcm of gas a year, mostly onshore, and consumes 11-12 bcm, making it largely independent of Russian gas, something others in the region can only envy. Other EU members are in fact scrambling to define coherent energy strategies that don’t make them too reliant on Russian imports, hence the spike in interest in Romania, as well as US and Norwegian gas.

Hungary was the first to sign up for Romania’s Black Sea gas after Budapest agreed with US firm ExxonMobil for deliveries starting in 2022, covering half of Hungary’s yearly gas consumption of 10 bcm.

But Romanian state-owned gas transporter Transgaz must first finish phase two of the BRUA gas pipeline that would enable gas transports from Romania to Hungary to reach 4.4 bcm a year.

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(Photo: veetec/