Brussels (Brussels Morning) Romania’s Black Sea Oil & Gas (BSOG) is to start extracting natural gas in November, CEO Mark Beacom announced on Tuesday, according to Reuters reporting.
“We’ve got this perfect project, very well behaved as far as the EU is concerned”, he said, with an expected lifespan of 10-to-15 years. After that, enewable energy projects could be developed around existing infrastructure.
BSOG is pushing ahead with the project and expects Romania’s centre-right government to scrap the tax on offshore projects , that was introduced by its centre-left predecessor.
The company, which is controlled by the US Carlyle Group private equity firm, hopes the tax will be abolished before November this year.
It is the last vestige of a set of restrictions and taxes imposed some two years ago by the centre-left government, which blindsided investors in Black Sea gas projects.
Time is running out
Critics of the plan to extract gas from the Black Sea, which could help Romania transition towards green energy and diversify energy supply in the region, warn the window to use gas is narrowing.
Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the EC for the European Green Deal, highlighted the need to view “natural gas as a transition energy carrier and not as the end situation”. He urged the Romanian government to use its share of the EU’s economic recovery fund to invest in green energy.
Romania’s Minister of Energy, Virgil-Daniel Popescu, said he believed parliament would amend the relevant regulations and scrap the offshore tax before the summer recess.
Turning to the significantly larger Neptun Deep offshore project in the Black Sea, Popescu predicted extraction could start by 2025.
The OMV Petrom oil company has the project on hold. However, CEO Christina Verchere envisages it could be completed approximately four years after the final investment decision.