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Romania oilman wants natural gas privatization. EU puts pressure for fair gas price

de Radu Big
Miercuri, 13 februarie 2008, 19:15 English | Business

Rompetrol general manager, Dinu Patriciu, the most influential Romanian businessman, declared on Wednesday that the high price Romanians have to pay for natural gas is caused by the monopolistic state-owned company Romgaz. According to Patriciu, the Romgaz privatization may bring some 6 billion euro to Romania. On the other hand, the European Commission has an eye on Romania, watching for the gas price not to go below the production cost, a fact that would be considered as undesirable state aid offered to companies and would subsequently represent a breaking of the Accession Treaty.

"Romania could be a storage room for the Central and Eastern Europe, already having a storage capacity of 20 billion cubic meters. He who holds the faucet, holds the control of this gas, but political fights brought us near to losing this edge. The privatization of the 200 licenses held by Romgaz would make us a deposit for the region. Still, it is a political decision and I don't thing anyone will take it until the elections. Afterwards, I am certain it will happen", said Patriciu.

On the other hand, at the beginning of the week, Romanian Commissioner for multilingualism, Leonard Orban, warned that Romania is monitored for the natural gas price: "The European Commission doesn't demand an aligning to the EU price, because each state has its own price, but may open infringement procedures in case the gas price in Romania is lower than the production cost", said Orban, quoted by NewsIn. 

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