Interview | Saniya Melnicenco, President, ROPEPCA

12 August 2019

ROPEPCA (Romanian Petroleum Exploration & Production Companies Association) was founded in 2012 to consolidate the position of the onshore exploration and production sector.

 

ROPEPCA brings together some of the key players in Romania’s oil & gas sector - what is the aim of the organization?

Romania has an outstanding tradition in the oil and gas industry and great premises for further development, whether we’re talking about the geological potential or the country’s highly trained professionals. Now, a window of opportunity was opened in this sense, as the so long waited 11th licensing round for exploration blocks has been officially announced. We will witness a diversification of the upstream sector in Romania, as well as an increase in various exploration and development projects. 

 

What are your views on the 11th licensing round that has just been announced, after so much anticipation?

The 11th licensing round was just published in the Romanian Official Gazette and will be launched officially in a couple of months; it represents the long awaited opportunity for such investments to be made. There is an increased interest for companies to explore the region, given its geographical and political positioning.

However, in order for the upcoming exploration projects to be successful, it is very important to settle  the outstanding issues, such as access to land, data declassification, as well as the consolidation of the National Agency for Mineral Resources. Such day-to-day problems can be all solved through the amendment of the main governing law for petroleum operations, namely the Petroleum Law no. 238/2004. The law was never considerably amended since 2004 and, in the context of an increased complexity of the sector and market following the licensing round, we believe that the need for its amendment is greater than ever.

 

The Government has put forward the project for Romania’s National Energy Strategy for 2018-2030. How does it compare to the industry’s vision?

There are many valuable conclusions in the strategy, but the challenge we see is in actually delivering the results. We agree for example that there is a great need to stimulate exploration and production through investment, however the state’s recent measures have been rather discouraging towards investors. 

Our vision revolves around three key elements: a predictable and stable regulatory and fiscal environment that includes openness to industry input, modernization of the Petroleum Law to create more efficiency in operations and easier land access. We intend to work closely with ANMR and for it to have more prerogatives and the necessary resources to fulfill its mission and to open new opportunities for investments.



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