Romania’s Government has drafted an emergency ordinance that aims to offer the National Agency for Mineral Resources (ANRM) the authority to refuse signing new concession agreements for oil and gas perimeters and cancel ongoing concession agreements on national security grounds, Profit.ro reported. The project also allows the Government to control who can take over existing concession agreements or companies holding such licenses.
The change is aimed at “avoiding unpredictable situations, which may arise in the situation of a transfer to another legal person of the rights and obligations assumed by oil agreements, with the consequence of changing their essential conditions, which, depending on the regional geopolitical dynamics, will affect the national security,” according to the explanatory notes quoted by Profit.ro.
The Government’s initiative is connected to US group ExxonMobil’s intention to sell its 50% stake in the Neptun Deep offshore gas perimeter, the biggest such concession in Romania’s Black Sea section by the size of gas reserves, according to G4Media.ro. One of the investors interested in Exxon’s stake is Russian group Lukoil, which already holds rights over a smaller offshore gas perimeter in the Black Sea. Romania’s prime minister Ludovic Orban has already expressed his preference that the investor or investors who take over Exxon’s stake should come from the area of Romania’s partnerships.
Romanian state-owned gas producer Romgaz is also interested in taking over part of Exxon’s stake and may submit an offer together with Polish group PGNiG and Romanian group OMV Petrom, which already holds a 50% stake in the Neptun Deep project, according to local media reports.