The ANRM is once again irritating the local oil and gas companies by proposing important changes to the Romanian oil law. The new draft contains a clause according to which oil fees must be calculated using a profitability index. ANRM president Bogdan Gabudeanu says the changes proposed by the agency aim to correlate the price of oil drilled from Romania and the exploitation potential of each deposit, as well as for the alignment of the Romanian state income from oil concessions with world oil prices. “The profitability index will be applied for a fair split of the profit between the oil companies and the Romanian state. This profit has contextual causes linked to the evolution of the price of oil and is not determined by the technical or managerial performance of the companies which own oil concessions areas,” said Gabudeanu.
One of the major companies that could be affected by any such change to oil legislation is Petrom, a company controlled by the Austrian OMV. Vienna-based representatives of OMV told Business Review that at the moment the company is studying the changes from a legal point of view. “The draft law is being thoroughly analyzed by our legal experts and comments are in the process of being sent to the Romanian National Agency of Mineral Resources,” Thomas Huemer, OMV spokesperson, told BR. But agency representatives insist the move is legitimate. “This way of establishing the oil spot price is compatible with the provisions from the law for the privatization of Petrom and also with the EU legislation in this area. More exactly, CE Directive 92/22 stipulates the fact that: member states can enforce conditions and demands regarding the oil operations justified by (…) the necessity of assuring incomes from taxes,” said ANRM officials.
The agency also proposes a tax for oil operations on Romanian territory, to be paid annually and calculated by the surface of oil perimeter of each concession owner. These are quick solutions to fill state coffers without breaking any law, in the ANRM's view. “If this draft law is approved, one of its effects will be to increase income to the state budget, money resulting from taxes and oil fees,” said Gabudeanu. According to him, the volume of the budgetary income will depend on the production from drilling operations and the surface of the oil perimeters, as well as on the evolution of oil and gas prices on the international market. The ANRM estimates for this year an increase of 11 percent in income from taxes and oil fees compared with last year, when it reported incomes of approximately EUR 258 million. At the same time, the agency wants to change the oil law to allow private investments in crude oil terminals. “These changes will allow the construction of oil transportation systems and oil terminals by private companies,” said Gabudeanu.
Rompetrol, a company controlled by KazMunaiGaz from Kazakhstan, will finalize this year a USD 90 million marine oil terminal at the Black Sea. The terminal will be used for crude oil imports and exports. It will allow large ships access to the Midia harbor and will be the first competitor of Oil Terminal Constanta, a state-owned company which has so far these services. This is not the first time when ANRM has proposed changes to the oil law. Last year, the Senate passed a legislative initiative by the extremist party PRM to cancel Petrom's privatization law, but the initiative was not Romania's Deputies Chamber. At the time, OMV officials said, “The privatization process was a transparent one and constantly monitored by international institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, EBRD and other important European institutions. Petrom's privatization was approved by the Romanian Government and by the Romanian Parliament.”
By Dana Ciuraru