The European Commission, the executive arm of the EU, urged Romania to accelerate the development of gas interconnections with neighboring Bulgaria and Hungary to better manage any potential disruption of gas imports from Russia this winter, according to a gas stress test conducted in 38 European countries.
In case of a 6-month Russian gas supply disruption that was modeled by the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), the EC specialists pointed out “Bulgaria would be the most exposed in relative terms although the total shortfalls are higher in Hungary and Romania due to larger markets.”
The EC said “that urgency was necessary” to fix issues regarding this interconnection project, which should have been completed by the end of this year but it looks unlikely to be completed this winter.
“In addition, the low pressure in the Romanian system remains problematic with respect to enabling more substantial cross-border flows to Bulgaria once the pipeline is in place but also to and from Hungary. This strongly underlines the need for all regional strategic infrastructure (domestic and cross-border) to be put in place expediently,” said the report.
The EC has also called on Romania to publish the data regarding the gas it stores underground, being the only member state that hasn’t done this yet.
Hungary currently has the biggest gas storage capacity of over 6 bcm, while Romania’s amounts close to 3 bcm.
The Commission also suggested Romania should look into the possibility of supplying neighboring Moldova with gas if Russia cuts imports through Ukraine.
Vice-President of the EC responsible for Energy, Gunther Oettinger said in a statement: “This report shows that we are not waiting but do everything we can do to be prepared. For the very first time, we have a complete picture of the risks and possible solutions. If we work together, show solidarity and implement the recommendations of this report, no household in the EU has to be left out in the cold this winter.”
The results of the stress test show that Finland, Estonia, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia would miss at least 60 percent of the gas they need if Russia were to close to tap.
At present, around 53 percent of the energy consumption of the EU is covered from imports. The EU imports 90 percent of crude oil and 66 percent of the natural gas. Solid fuels and nuclear fuels have shares of 42 percent and 40 percent, respectively on imports.
Romania has registered a reduction of gas imports from Russian oil major Gazprom in the past few weeks.