Foreign Minister, Teodor Melescanu, has said on Saturday that the US Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, asked the Romanian ambassador in Washington DC, George Maior, that the Romanian authorities assure the concordance between the offshore bill and the annex which includes the calculations for expenditure deduction.
“It is a customary issue for two allied states, members of a strategic partnership. Official consultations are very useful and important when some fears appear. From this point of view, it is routine, it is customary. The only issue related to the concordance between the text of the law and the annex which includes the calculations for the deduction of expenditures for exploitations, given that the offshore drills are much more expensive for the exploitation of natural gas. Furthermore, it was stressed the idea of the US interest in the relations with Romania in terms of energy, which is one of the main issues currently,” FM Melescanu has told Antena 3 TV private broadcaster.
The Romanian Ambassador in Washington DC, George Cristian Maior, met US Energy Secretary, Rick Perry, the meeting taking place within the context of the Romanian Parliament’s vote on the Offshore Law and that PSD leader, Liviu Dragnea, announced that the bill will be amended by emergency ordinance.
The Chamber of Deputies adopted on July 9, as the decision-making body, the draft bill establishing measures for the exploitation of Black Sea energy resources, with 175 votes in favour, 30 against and 30 abstentions.
The bill sets out measures necessary for carrying out petroleum exploration, development, exploitation and abandonment of oil exploration operations as well as oil exploration works/ oil rigs carried out by petroleum agreement holders on offshore oil blocks, in accordance with the provisions of the oil agreements concluded between the holders and the National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM).
Chamber of Deputies Speaker, Liviu Dragnea, said, after the vote, that we cannot accept that our country remains energetically dependent on Russia.
“It is a very important law and I hope that the abstentions or votes against were generated not by bad faith but by failing to understand the law’s provisions,” PSD leader Liviu Dragnea told the chamber’s plenary. He argued that he has consulted the colleagues in the Chamber of Deputies and decided that the law should not be adopted in the form voted by the Senate.
Also, another amendment made by the committee and adopted by the Chamber of Deputies refers to the amounts to be collected from royalties and additional taxes, which will feed the special fund, set up by the ordinance on public-private partnership.
The largest oil companies present in Romania were reluctant to the changes announced. Mark Beacom, Chief Executive Officer of Black Sea Oil & Gas, said that ‘we received constant and firm assurance from successive Governments. Now we find out that the assurances were violated by a series of new provisions that may lead to new blockage on the projects.’
In turn, Richard Tasker, Director General ExxonMobil Exploration and Production Romania Ltd, said that the debates will make even more difficult for investors to decide on carrying on investments. CEO OMV Petrom, Cristina Verchere, said that the decisions in Parliament ‘make us drive away from a final decision favourable to investments’.