The state has lost RON 7bn, as the reference price of petroleum royalties hasn’t been updated since 2008 – ANRM official says

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The state budget has lost revenues of RON 7 billion during 2010-2015, because the reference price of gas, on which the petroleum royalties are calculated, has not been updated since 2008, as two checks conducted by the Court of Auditors reveal, National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM) adviser, Dorinel Ursarescu, has said on Wednesday.

ANRM organised a public debate on Wednesday on the issue of updating the natural gas reference price, on which the petroleum royalties due to the state budget by the oil companies are calculated, reports.

“The reference price for calculating the royalties hasn’t been updated since 2008. Currently the price is of RON 495 per 1,000 cubic metres. In the meantime, the market developed, deregulations were implemented in 2013 and 2017. During this interval, unfortunately, ANRM was not keen to adjust the level of the reference price, so that the revenues to the state budget are accordingly to the market price,” Unsarescu said.

He added that the Court of Auditors has revealed, during the past two checks, that this development has led to the failure to collect to the state budget the overall amount of RON 7 billion, during 2010-2015, as the calculation price remained at the 2008 level.

“The Court of Auditors released two reports. The first one assessed the ANRM activity during 2006-2010 and read that, by failing to update the reference price to the market conditions, has led to not collecting royalties in 2010 of RON 2.407 billion. A consequent check found out that, by not updating the reference price, during 2011-2015, the difference that should have been collected was of RON 4.671 billion,” the ANRM representative said.

Unsarescu said ANRM has challenged these reports, but the High Court for Cassation and Justice (ICCJ – Supreme Court) supported the Court of Auditors’ view.

ANRM has recently launched for public debate a draft order to amend the methodology in order to set the reference price of natural gas depending on the calculation of royalties due to the state budget from producers, which takes into account the price of gas at the stock market in Austria.

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