Ponta charges Liviu Dragnea of ‘high treason’ related to the offshore law

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Former PSD leader, currently Pro Romania chairman, Victor Ponta, accused current social-democrat chair Liviu Dragnea of high treason, as the form of the offshore law adopted by the Senate on Monday will lead to losses of USD 10 billion in royalties and taxes for Romania.

“What Dragnea is doing is high treason, however he will have lots of accomplices in the Chamber of Deputies when the vote comes, the UDMR deputies will say yes for sure. The PSD deputies who will vote in favour will become accomplices, as now they know what it all about,” Victor Ponta says.

He added that, following the amendments made by the Senate “upon Dragnea’s request” even the companies already operating in the Black Sea will pay less.

“Firstly, the document adopted on Monday (by the Senate – our note), next comes the Chamber of Deputies, is different against the calculations presented by Liviu Dragnea on the TV, it provides for taxes and royalties lower by USD 10 billion. Secondly, for such exploitations investments are to be conducted and, probably, in 2023 at the soonest, gas will be extracted and taxes will be paid, taxes cut down by 40 percent. In the Black Sea there are rigs in operation for more than 20 years, Petrom rigs, which will also pay less, they will be exempted, all investments will be deducted for the current operators and for the next ones. This means they will pay less, not more,” Victor Ponta says, according to capital.ro.

“The third serious issue, an auction was organized stealthily for the gas transmission capacities and two companies from Hungary have won, supported by Viktor Orban (Hungarian PM – our note). The contract provides that if, by December 31, the two companies fail to have acquisition contracts, they lose the right and another auction is to be organized. Dragnea is speeding up the law so that the two Hungarian companies lose this right, probably he made a promise to Viktor Orban,” the former PSD leader says.

Ponta made an appeal to the PSD Deputies not to vote in haste and to wait for impact studies, for debates and negotiations on transmission, but also for classified information only the Government receives.

The Senate plenary adopted on Monday the offshore draft bill with the amendments proposed on the same day by the PSD and ALDE representatives in the parliamentary committees. The draft law was adopted with 81 votes for, 9 against and 15 abstentions. The draft will further on reach the Chamber of Deputies, the decisional chamber.

One of the most important amendments reads that the current royalties are to be applied for the petroleum output in the Black Sea. Another amendment reads that, during the entire period of oil agreements, decades ahead, the royalties’ regime and the tax regime will not be changed. Investments made before and after the bill comes into force will be deducted.

The reporting commissions – on economy and energy – have determined that the investor can deduct a maximum of 60% of the additional income from the investment made.

The bill sets out some measures necessary for the implementation of petroleum exploration, development, exploitation and abandonment oil exploration operations, as well as oil exploration of wells carried out by petroleum agreement holders on offshore oil perimeters, in accordance with the provisions of the oil agreements concluded between the holders and the National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANMR).

The document was sent to parliament by President Klaus Iohannis for review.

The Presidency informed in a press release on August 2 that the exploitation of the oil and natural gas resources in the offshore areas in the Black Sea basin ‘has a particular importance for Romania, from the perspective of developing the internal market, of the beneficial contribution to the economy’s prosperity and of the Romanian citizens, but also in the light of enhancing the regional energy security.’

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