The high European institution urged local authorities to accelerate the development of gas interconnections with neighboring Bulgaria and Hungary to better manage any potential disruption of gas imports.
Russia cut gas exports to Europe almost every day up to 60 percent, plunging the continent into an energy crisis ‘within hours’ as a dispute with Ukraine escalated.
Bulgaria, Romania, Finland and Baltic countries such as Estonia and Latvia could suffer gas shortages of 40 percent-100 percent, relative to their overall gas supplies, if Russia cut off all its gas deliveries for six months, according to a report from the European Commission. The first stress tests for the energy sector map out how European gas supplies would be hit in case of a total cut from Russia.
The EU’s energy chief, Günther Oettinger, said while he didn’t anticipate such a dramatic scenario in which all Russian gas supplies ceased, the tests showed the extent to which countries would need to pool their energy resources to avoid shortages, perhaps by sending gas to countries most in need.
In this context, EC urged Romania to accelerate the development of gas interconnections with neighboring Bulgaria and Hungary to better manage any potential disruption of gas imports from Russia this winter.
“Bulgaria would be the most exposed in relative terms although the total shortfalls are higher in Hungary and Romania due to larger markets” EC specialists pointed out.
The EC said “that urgency was necessary” to fix issues regarding this interconnection project, which should have been completed by the end of this year but it looks unlikely to be completed this winter.
“In addition, the low pressure in the Romanian system remains problematic with respect to enabling more substantial cross-border flows to Bulgaria once the pipeline is in place but also to and from Hungary. This strongly underlines the need for all regional strategic infrastructure (domestic and cross-border) to be put in place expediently,” said the report.
The EC has also called on Romania to publish the data regarding the gas it stores underground, being the only member state that hasn’t done this yet.
Hungary currently has the biggest gas storage capacity of over 6 bcm, while Romania’s amounts close to 3 bcm.
The Commission also suggested Romania should look into the possibility of supplying neighboring Moldova with gas if Russia cuts imports through Ukraine.
Romania’s current gas consumption stands at a total of 25.5 million cubic meters per day, while the country’s own gas production is 31 million cubic meters per day. The cut in gas supplies from the Russian Federation has just a minor impact, Minister-delegate for Energy Razvan Nicolescu said recently.