Can you provide some details about the circumstances surrounding Romgaz’s investment in the Iernut Power Plant, which is one of the few modern energy infrastructure pieces in Romania since the 1960s-1970s?

Romgaz acquired the Iernut plant in 2013 as part of an enforcement process due to non-payment of certain debts. While the solution wasn’t initially welcomed, the company decided to turn it into a profitable investment by using only the best technology available. Currently, the plant’s construction is progressing very well, and Romgaz expects it to be up and running in the first trimester of 2020. This experience has motivated Romgaz to seek out new projects, especially since there are few companies in Romania that are capable of undertaking such large investments. The company is in talks with potential partners for several other construction plans, as there is a great need and opportunity for this in Romania.

Why did Romgaz decide to expand into renewable energy, and what strategic direction will this take the company in the future?

Romania is still an energy importer and not yet truly diversified. The largest share of energy presently comes from hydro, and only a small portion of it is gas-based. In the coming years, over 220 MWh of coal will have to be discarded because of environmental norms in place, and this will create a gap in the market that Romgaz is happy to fill. Additionally, a higher share of renewable energy is beneficial for balancing consumption quantities. If there is a diversified energy mix, various sources can complement or replace each other when necessary. Finally, Romgaz believes that clean energy is the future of energy.

What role do you envision gas playing within Romgaz in the future?

Romgaz is aware that gas is a fossil fuel that will eventually be depleted. The quality of methane gas in Romania is among the highest in the world (99% pure methane), making it more important to use resources mindfully. The company plans to develop further into petrochemistry, as it is already making strides in this direction. However, legislation poses a challenge, and companies must be agile enough to adapt quickly to sudden changes. In this sense, GEO 114/2018 served Romgaz well, as it reinforced the decision to expand into renewable energy.

What are the key objectives that Romgaz will be pursuing in the next two to three years?

Romgaz has a market study underway that assesses opportunities in the petrochemical arena, which is a very interesting option for the company. Other priorities include expanding into renewable energy, developing offshore capacity, and extending internationally in a calculated but persistent manner. Romgaz is already in contact with the National Gas Company in Poland and has incipient talks with SOCAR in Azerbaijan. In the next period, the company will determine which opportunities carry the most value.

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