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Romania's Murky Natural Gas Market

Dan Victor Alesandru, former Secretary of State in the Ministry of Economy in the first Tariceanu government (December 2004 - December 2008), is under investigation by the Directia de Investigare a Infractiunilor de Criminalitate Organizata si Terorism (Department for Investigation of Organized Crime and Terrorism, or DIICOT) for irregularities in the delivery of Gazprom natural gas, and stands accused of conspiracy and of undermining the national economy.
 
Romania’s Evenimentul Zilei newspaper is reporting that, besides Alesandru, magnate Ioan Niculae and other 39 persons are also being probed.
 
Alesandru’s purported crime?
 
Arranging for Alro Slatina, a company controlled by Russian businessman Vitali Matsitskii, to receive cheap electric energy produced by the Romanian company Nuclearelectrica from its Cernavoda nuclear power plant. Alesandru’s Alro Slatina friends proved to be unusually grateful and gave the company Distrirom SRL Popesti Leordeni, owned by Alesandru's family, 30 percent of the shares in Conef Gaz SRL, one of the two intermediary companies through which Gazprom is to export more than 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas to Romania for the period 2010-2030.
 
Following his dismissal as a secretary of state, Alesandru became a member of the Board of Directors of Conef Gaz SRL.
 
Which raises the question – since, according to data from Romania’s Autoritatea Nationala de Reglementare in Domeniul Energie (Romanian Energy Regulatory National Authority, or ANRE), Romanian domestic natural gas production could cover 97 percent of the country’s domestic consumption needs, why is Romania importing such massive volumes of natural gas from Russia through “intermediaries?”

By. Joao Peixe, Deputy Editor OilPrice.com



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