Romgaz, state producer which supplies some half of the domestic production of natural gas, is to invest, starting this year, 500 million dollars in the bolstering of its storage capacities by some 40 percent up to 2012.
At present, the company holds storage capacities of 2.8 billion cubic meters and Romgaz plans are to increase it to 3.9 billion cubic meters in the period 2008 through 2012. Under conditions in which the majority of Romgaz deposits are in an advanced phase of production decline, after 30 years of steady exploitation, the investments in upgrading storage capacities are practically the only development opportunities for the company and for securing domestic gas supplies.
One of the largest deposits Romgaz is to make in the upcoming period is the one in Roman-Margineni (Romania’s north-east), a project Rompetrol Group is also interested in, whose storage capacity ranges between 0.6 and 2 billion cubic meters.
Company representatives say that, in 2008, its volume is to rise by some 100 million cubic meters. Investments earmarked for this year are of some 100 million dollars.
The majority of deposits operated by Romgaz, especially the big dimension ones, are mature, with the exploitation duration of more than 25-30 years.
Annually, Romgaz produces some 6 billion cubic meters of gas, the other big producer being Petrom, which reports a similar production. The remainder of gas for covering the domestic market demand, evaluated at 17 billion cubic meters annually, is exclusively imported from Russia.
Some market players estimate that Romania should invest massively into the expansion of storage capacities, up to doubling them, as the only way to secure the domestic consumption, as well as a big opportunity for the local market to play an enhanced role on the European energy map.
Dinu Patriciu, president of Rompetrol Group, stated recently that one of Romania’s trump cards would be the transformation of the exhausted gas deposits into big gas storage locations that would turn the local market into a "regional gas control tap". Nevertheless, Romania lacks interconnection routes with the neighbouring countries, the projects with Hungary and Bulgaria being placed on waiting, for several years.