The death of the world's most beloved opera voice, Luciano Pavarotti, shades most of the petty political controversies in Romania and takes over the headlines of most newspapers.

Even so, president Basescu's future routine surgery on the thyroid also draws some attention, along with some news in the oil and natural gas market.

President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso visited the Romanian city of Sibiu on Thursday. Sibiu, designated as European Cultural Capital in 2007, also hosts a major ecumenical gathering this week.

Barosso proved to be more popular than Franco Nero on the streets of Sibiu, being recognized by far more people. Addressing the people of Sibiu, Barosso pledged for cultural and religious diversity, considering it one of the EU fundamentals, Evenimentul Zilei reads.

President Basescu makes it to the front pages once more, this time due to the results of his latest health check. After suffering a spine intervention in Vienna in 2006, Basescu will soon be subject to a routine intervention on the thyroid, performed by a team of Romanian doctors, same Evenimentul Zilei reads.

Thursday was also a busy day in the oil and gas business. Rompetrol chief, Dinu Patriciu announced that his company (out of which 75% was recently bought by the national Kazach oil company) has big plans for expanding on the Central and Eastern European markets.

Patriciu says that Rompetrol will run against OMV in the privatization of the Serbian oil company NIS and, since it has a deeper interest, will win the bid, Evenimentul Zilei informs.

Also in oil: Austrians at Petrom find a second oil sediment on the Black Sea, able to provide 357 tons of oil and 35,000 cubic meters of natural gas per day. It is the second finding, after similar quantities were found in Adjud, county of Vrancea, Gandul reads.

The head of OMV, Wolfgang Ruttenstorfer, also produces some news, announcing that Petrom, bought by OMV a while back, is finally on "the good road" and expects it to be as efficient as Exxon Mobil during the next ten years, Cotidianul reads, quoting an interview published by Business Standard.