The largest onshore natural gas field in Europe “sleeps” in Romania. The Ministry of Energy shows how incompetent it is in energy policy

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In the context of the European energy crisis, caused in particular by the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation, the way each government manages its resources and harnesses its own potential is a measure of its ability to avoid a possible crisis in this sector.
Romania is one of the European countries that has proven resources for both oil and natural gas. In any case, in the European Union, Romania is the only one that has its own deposits. Some capitalized, others who “sleep” in the bowels of the earth.
But based on what nature has given us, politicians and the government seem to be sleeping peacefully.
Here are two well-known arguments.
The first. We have the largest offshore deposit discovered in the Romanian territorial waters of the Black Sea. It is the deposit called Neptune, whose reserves are estimated at almost 100 billion m.c. Its commercial operation was delayed due to disagreements between the authorities and the two companies involved: Exxon Mobile and OMV Petrom. Now, the Romanian company Romgaz has acquired the share of shares from ExxonMobile, and the Law referring to the advantages of the state and companies has been amended in favor of investors.
Let’s hope that things will enter a new dynamic.
The second argument. In southeastern Romania, in the perimeter called Caragele, an impressive natural gas field was discovered in 2016. As a result of exploration projects and production tests carried out in 2011-2016, in June 2016 Romgaz discovered in the Caragele structural complex (between Buzău and Brăila), about 35 kilometers long, a significant accumulation of natural gas at depths. between 1,500 and 4,000 meters. Gas accumulations are estimated at 25-27 billion cubic meters, with potential for growth following the evolution of exploration.
At that moment, the discovery was announced with great pomp and there was talk about ensuring Romania’s energy independence, and even about the fact that we will be a strong exporter of natural gas. In 2018, we were publicly informed that the new Caragele gas field will start operating in 2020-2021 and that Romgaz will execute the investments for the commercial exploitation of gas.
That didn’t happen.
“We are in 2022, but the deposit, the largest discovered in the last 30 years, is not exploited even now. For this reason, I made an interpellation that I addressed to the Minister of Energy, Virgil Popescu. I asked him to answer me why the investments in Caragele were stopped and why they are only resumed now, the actual gas will be exploited only in 2023, when it should already be in operation? Caragele could be one of the answers to the energy crisis. “It is estimated that it is a 30 billion cubic meter bag of natural gas. Only the Neptune field, discovered in the Black Sea, is larger than the one at Caragele”, says one of the Romanian parliamentarians, senator Vlad Pufu .
A few days ago, the Minister of Energy gave 2023 as the term of exploitation.
Today, one of his deputies was speaking, at a specialized conference, about another term. The year 2024 would be the moment of starting the commercial exploitation of the Caragele deposit.
Lack of coordination or gross incompetence at the Ministry of Energy.
We believe both.
Because of this, Romania is looking through the fence of other states that have no trace of deposits. The Minister of Energy travels to Bulgaria, has talks with the Greeks or Serbs to get a gas molecule. Embarrassing, given that these countries are poor in energy resources.
Perhaps our Ministry of Energy, like other bureaucratized Europeans in the corridors of buildings in Brussels, does not know that Romania has extensive experience in the oil and gas extraction sector.
Onshore, Romania was the first country in the world to officially record a crude oil production in 1857. In terms of natural gas, the first wells that led to the start of national natural gas production were dug in 1908, in the locality Sărmășel (Mureș County).
In comparison, in the offshore area, the first seismic data acquisitions in the Black Sea basin began in 1969 and in 1976, the Gloria offshore oil rig dug the first exploration well. The aim of these works was to increase the national production of hydrocarbons – ie oil and natural gas, by accessing the potential within the continental shelf of the Black Sea.
“Initially, Probe 1 Ovidiu Est was located in an area where the water had a depth of 84 meters. The platform was designed for waters with maximum depths of 90 meters and high waves of 12 meters “, show the data of the Romanian Association of Offshore Concessions in the Black Sea (RBSTA).
In the perimeter of Istria XVIII, where the well dug in a 50 meter deep water area, made the first discoveries of crude oil in significant quantities, in 1980 (Swan). Works followed for the construction of the first production platform in 1984, but also for the 64 km long oil transmission pipeline to the mainland.
It was not until 1987, 11 years after the exploration began, that the first production of hydrocarbons in the Black Sea was recorded.
Subsequently, “after the execution of over 100 exploration drillings, new oil and gas fields were discovered: Sinoe (1988), Portița (1990), Doina (1995), Cobălcescu (1997), Pescăruș (1999), with reserves relatively small. Between 1988 and 2001, another 6 production platforms were built for exploitation, located at a water depth of up to 150 m. The platforms followed an SV-NE alignment, about 80-100 km away from the shore “, shows in the paper “Black Sea Hydrocarbons – between challenges and risks”.
Exploration work continued, with new oil fields being discovered after 2001. The structures exploited today are in shallow water.

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