Conpet provides specialized oil transport services via pipelines and by rail, securing the supply of the refineries with domestic and imported crude oil and derivatives. The company also handles the operation and maintenance of the National Pipeline Transport System.
Conpet plays the essential role of operating the National Pipeline Transport System. Can you give us an overview of its current condition?
The pipeline network has a length of 3,800 km and it is generally in good shape, so the work that we are undertaking at the moment is mostly focused on maintenance. We did go through a noteworthy modernization process back in 1998, based on a report performed by Bechtel and funded through the World Bank. We also benefit from a modernization quote that is included in the transport tariff, and this allows us to continuously modernize the system. At present we have a program in place that aims to eliminate all the existing damages, by use of modern technologies and thorough inspections, and we have implemented a system that allows us to easily identify losses. In the case of pipes that are not in use at present, we will find the best solutions to either deactivate or preserve them, depending on the case.
The extent of the network is enough to fully cover the needs of production and refining capacities that are active at the moment, and all new developments will be based on new discoveries made in the country. One example is the agreement we have recently signed with Serinus, who has made some discoveries in the region of Satu Mare.
What can we expect from Conpet in terms of investments in the next period?
We are planning major investments in locations that are delicate from an environmental perspective. One such example is the Danube-Borcea area, a project we will initiate in August this year and where we will create a new undercrossing. The capacities that are in place can hold for another ten years, but in this way we will ensure protection of the Danube Delta, and, at the same time, we will ensure the security of the system and optimize the use of human resources.
Another major investment that we have planned is the development of loading ramps in areas in which our company will drive business in the future. For instance, we are testing the market at Caragele, with the expectation being that the quantities extracted there will amount to approximately 150 t/day. We are also testing the market for other beneficiaries, and we will adapt based on their requirements. We are ready to take on any projects that may arise at very competitive prices. This is mainly because the infrastructure that we have already built (reservoirs, pipes, loading-unloading stations) is very strong, and also the fact that we are lucky enough, from the human resources perspective, to hold all the skills we need.
Given your highly developed presence in Romania, are you looking to expand operations into new geographies?
Regional expansion is indeed one of our objectives going further. We have signed an agreement with NIS Petrol and, as a next step, we will start transportation by rail to Serbia. We try to be present also for the reactivation of the pipe that connects Pitesti with Pancevo, and when Serbia becomes an EU member we are ready to sit down with them to understand their needs and how we can best work together. We have also made a first step in Poland, through the partnership we have with Serinus. What comes next will depend on the regional policies, and we are also committed to the idea of developing work only when we have a clear beneficiary in mind and agreements that have duration of minimum four years.
Aside from regional development, we are advancing our capabilities in road transportation for a variety of products that extend beyond the oil & gas sector. We are looking, for instance, at opportunities to transport cereals and chemicals, and the fact that we have the loading ramps already in place gives us a great advantage.
Do you have a final message for our international audience?
When I was a student the expectation was that the oil & gas resources in Romania would be depleted by the time I reached retirement age. The estimations could not have been more wrong, as in reality the resources in Romania have proven to be plentiful and presently there are still generous reserves available. Not to mention the fact that the oil available here is sulfur-free (unique in Europe), which is extremely relevant given the efforts to reduce pollution globally. There are still many opportunities to be captured in this sector and Romania is in a great position to do it.
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