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Government will treat carefully subject of Black Sea gas starting with December

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The Romanian Government desires the exploitation of gas resources in the Black Sea and will treat carefully the subject starting with December, so that there are no discussions that would affect these projects, said, on Thursday, Tanase Stamule, adviser on economic issues to the Prime Minister of the Romanian Government, in the online conference "Energy on line", organized by the Bursa newspaper.

"In what regards the Black Sea, there is a powerful desire of the Government to start gas exploitations there, and the subject will be treated carefully starting with December [when parliamentary elections are to take place - e.n.], so we don't have all sorts of discussions that are not useful and would affect the project. It's a priority for us to exploit those resources," said Stamule.

"We have sufficient reserves to cover Romania, but currently only 30 percent of citizens have access to gas. Thus the issue of forests being felled will be solved, because many people still use wood for heating," mentioned the Prime Minister's adviser.

The expanding of the gas networks will lead also to an increase of economic attractiveness in the localities that will be connected, he mentioned.

In the Romanian part of the Black Sea there is a potential for 200 billion cubic meters of gas, according to the National Agency for Mineral Resources, yet the large projects are frozen due to the legislation in the offshore oil sector.

OMV Petrom and ExxonMobil are equal partners in the project to explore the Neptun Deep sea deposit in the Black Sea, estimated at 42 - 84 billion cubic meters of gas. By comparison, Romania produces presently around 10-11 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

Last year, Exxon announced its intention to withdraw from Romania. In their turn, the representatives of OMV Petrom claimed several times that the extraction of gas in the Neptun Deep perimeter will become uncertain, if the Offshore Law is not modified.

The Minister of Economy, Energy and the Business Environment, Virgil Popescu, stated several times, since taking over his mandate, that legislation in the offshore oil sector will have to be approved in Parliament by political consensus, and the Government will have no initiative in this sense.

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