Ancuţa Stanciu (Translated by Cosmin Ghidoveanu)
Ziarul BURSA #English Section /

In Europe, the cold weather has led to a significant rise in the price of natural gas 

Last week, Romania imported about one third of the daily natural gas consumption to get it through the cold winter period, these being the biggest daily imports of natural gas in the last five years, according to some sources from the energy sector, quoted by Agerpres.

The National Energy Regulatory Authority (ANRE) last week audited Transgaz, E.ON, ENGIE and OMV. The ANRE officials told us: "The audits were intended to analyze the existence of potential imbalances created in the natural gas market. The conclusions of the audits will be known in the beginning of next week (ed. note: this week)".

The daily natural gas consumption was about 65 million cubic meters, and the sources of origin were domestic output (approximately 27-28 million cubic meters), gas extracted from deposits (approximately 14-15 million cubic meters) and imports, which have even reached 22 million cubic meters (meaning 33% of the consumption), this being the biggest quantity of natural gas imported in the last five years.

Monday, in the beginning of the cold period, the storage areas had about 500 million cubic meters of natural gas, out of the total of 1.8 billion cubic meters in the beginning of the winter. But the quantity of natural gas that can be extracted from the storage areas, at the end of the cold season, meaning towards spring, drops considerably compared to the one that can be removed when the deposits are full, respectively 28-30 million cubic meters a day.

Still, natural gas consumers did not feel the imbalances in the system these days, with the exception of the OMV Petrom plant, which generates electricity out of natural gas and which has been halted.

According to the Transgaz website, the Line Pack indicator, which shows the actual effective natural gas which is part of the system at a certain time, started dropping on Monday and Wednesday got near the risk status (33 million cubic meters), as the quantity of gas in the major pipelines was far below the normal operating parameters (over 40 million cubic meters).

In November 2017, Transgaz CEO Ion Sterian, said, in the parliamentary investigation commission on the activity of the ANRE, that the inventory of natural gas for next winter was the lowest in the last four-five years, meaning that Romania would be forced to increase its imports of natural gas by 30% in order to prevent a disruption in consumption. "Currently, the inventory for the 2017-2018 winter is the smallest it's been in the last four-five years, as the consumption of natural gas in Romania has increased 7-8% in the last year. That means that in winter we will be forced to import a greater quantity of natural gas than last year", said Sterian.

He warned that under these circumstances, if the suppliers don't get enough natural gas to cover the deliveries to customers, they will be disconnected from the national gas system. "Whoever doesn't meet the nominalizations will be restricted, if they consume more than the nominalization. If they consume the entire stock, from the Line Pack of the pipeline, without bringing in gas quantities to be injected in the National Transport System (SNT), the national gas system will collapse. Think of the consequences that could be had on the national energy system", Sterian said.

Moreover, according to Sterian, not the entire quantity of gas found in the stores can be extracted.

The daily natural gas consumption was about 65 million cubic meters a day.

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