The price at which Russia’s energy giant Gazprom sold gas to Romania in the first quarter of this year was the lowest in Europe, according to data compiled by the European Commission. The cost of Russian gas imported by Romania was EUR 13.5 per Mwh (compared to EUR 16.5 in Bulgaria or EUR 17.5 in Hungary). Only the Azeri gas delivered to Bulgaria was cheaper.
In its quarterly statistics, the EU’s executive arm takes as a reference point for gas imported from Romania the price of Russian gas at the border of the importing country.
The only source of imported gas in Romania is Gazprom. Lately, the import route has changed, and Russian gas is now mainly in the Romanian network in the south, through Bulgaria, and not in the southeast, via the historical Ukrainian route, as before, due to the construction of the 31.5bcm/year TurkStream corridor – through which Russian gas reaches Turkey under the Black Sea. Romania was not included in the TurkSTream route when the project was pitched.
Romania is among the few countries in the European Union that produce natural gas, and is the second largest producer in Europe after the Netherlands, but not all domestic consumption is covered by domestic production, which is declining.
According to Gazprom, the biggest recipients of Russian gas in the Balkans in 2019 were Croatia (2.82 billion cubic meters), Greece (2.41 billion cubic meters) and Bulgaria (2.39 billion cubic meters), followed by Serbia (2.13 billion cubic meters.)
In 2020, the Russian energy giant saw its total gas sales dip by 8.1% in 2020 as the Covid-19 crisis hit demand. Gazprom sold a total of 209.7 Bcm last year across all of its pipeline markets, down from 228.2 Bcm in 2019.
There were big falls in gas purchases in the UK (-41.6%), the Czech Republic (-37.8%), Serbia (-37%), Croatia (-34.8%), Finland (-34.5%), and Hungary (-17.9%).
In Romania, Gazprom’s gas sales dropped 3.2%. Elsewhere in Europe, some big increases were registered in countries such as Slovakia (+34.6%), Greece (+25.1%), and Denmark (+10.5), according to an analysis of sales data published in the company’s full-year earnings statement late on Feb. 15.
Germany remained Gazprom’s biggest market by far, followed by Italy and Belarus.
According to Gazprom Export, the company within the Russian group, during the first half of 2021, the company exported 99.9 billion cubic meters, up 25.7% y-o-y.
Gazprom holds the world’s largest natural gas reserves. The company’s share in the global and Russian gas reserves amounts to 16 and 71 per cent respectively. As the world’s leading gas producer, Gazprom accounts for 12 per cent of the global gas output and 68 per cent of domestic gas production. The company sells more than half of its gas to Russian consumers and exports gas to over 30 countries within and beyond the former Soviet Union. It is also one of the largest producers and exporters of liquefied natural gas (LNG) in Russia.