MEP Ramona Mănescu (PPE): Romania can redraw Europe’s energy map

sigla ppe bunaMEP Ramona Mănescu (PPE) held a speech at the Romania ENERGY DAY 2015 – “Energy Union: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Energy in Central and South East Europe” event at the European Parliament in Brussels.

Excerpt out of the speech:

I am honoured to have been invited to participate to the Romania ENERGY DAY Conference. I consider it a very good event, especially because it has a direct focus on Romania.

I would like to congratulate the Romanian Energy Centre for organising this event, which is already at its fourth edition this year and I hope that all our efforts and all the efforts that the European Union is doing will bring positive visible results for Romania and its people.

ramona manescu energy

It is a great pleasure for me to be here and to share with you my view regarding the challenges and Investment opportunities in the energy sector.

As a Member of the AFET Committee within the European Parliament, I would also like to underline the connection between the Energy Security and Foreign Policy, because they work together, they are strongly connected!

I would like to use the opportunity to bring into discussion the connection between the main topic of this event: Challenges and Opportunities for Sustainable Energy and the focus of the present session: Facilitating investments and security in indispensable Electricity Infrastructure.

I strongly believe that currently, the challenges are exactly the ones that are driving the opportunities for the future and these opportunities are represented by investments in all the aspects of energy infrastructure.

Romania is placed on the World Map at the intersection of several economic axes that are also geo-political ones, connecting Western Europe with Eastern Europe and further with Asia. Out of these axes, the one favouring the most Romania from an energy perspective is the maritime one, especially the Caspian Sea – Black Sea one.

In this enlarged area, geo-historically, Romania had a stabilizing and securing role, playing a defensive or gate of offensive role in some moments or a unifying role in others. With this roles assumed, and knowing the EU has already recognized for some years the strategic role of South Caucasus for its energy interests Romania is capable to maximize its position. Having a strong competition coming from Bulgaria and Turkey for the position of transit country in the European effort of diversifying energy sources, Romanian goals can only be achieved by a very active diplomacy on bilateral relations. This can bring that much needed advantage point that later translates into energy infrastructure projects.

Energy infrastructure development, according with the objectives set by the Energy Roadmap 2050 involves both a replacement/modernisation of the outdated segments and building new interconnections, needed for a Unique Energy Market.

All this new investments must be done using modern technologies, with low carbon emissions, this way assuring their long run in good conditions.
Also, we must not forget that such investments of updating the infrastructure with the new standards, are involving costs. These costs will imply upon industries, bringing new costs for the companies and lowering their competitiveness comparative with other entities from the rest of the world.
Energy sources diversification is another goal of Energy Roadmap 2050. This will assure us that hydrocarbons exporters will not use their capacities as a politico-strategic weapon.

The main challenges in promoting energy projects are:
• bringing together in a unitary and consistent opinion all the countries that are part of an energy project path
• securing the financing for such projects

It must be added that any energy project has a strategic meaning in addition to the commercial one.

And here is where it comes the opportunity of investments, infrastructure development and research in the area of producing, transporting and supplying of energy with a double target:

  • stabilizing a whole region by offering alternatives and opportunities
  • assuring long term energy security and sustainability by multiplying and diversifying energy sources and offering a predictable market for this supply

Romania is a country that I am proud to say that is present in the World statistics as the first country to have an industrial production of crude oil. The oil production is followed closely by the whole oil industry, research, infrastructure and then the horizontal industry, like the petro-chemical one. The international demand of energy resources is one of the reasons why today Constanta is the biggest port at the Black Sea and a major energetic hub for the whole European Union.

Romanian experience helps me to understand the complicated but strong connections between energy, resources, security, economic development, regional stability, political relations and conflicts.

Also, I can see a clear picture of a country that once was a major oil exporter but, under the pressure of the continuous reducing of natural reserves, evolved to a new stage where it invested in nuclear energy and has a long term nuclear program, developed a whole industry of renewable resources, from research to production and big Aeolian or photo-voltaic farms, and used its broad knowledge in hydrocarbons extraction, transport and storage to become an energy hub for a region where energy security is now the strongest diplomatic tool.

I believe that under the global discussion about energy security, combined with the pressure coming from the assumed goals of sustainability and reduced pressure over the climatic system, energy production in the shape of fossil fuels was, is and it will continue to be an engine that will assure the future development and stability.

The opportunities offered by the renewable energies in terms of research, production, implementation and operation are just starting to uncover.

This is where EU countries have a head start that can be turned into opportunities for cutting edge companies. I know a lot of Romanian companies capable to start from an idea and finish with a fully functional investment in areas like energy efficiency or renewable energy production. Also, I know some Romanian companies very active in research and innovation, that maybe are not as famous as Tesla, but that are capable to bring to life really amazing projects in areas that are harnessing wind or solar energy.

Interconnectivity of various energy transport and storage systems, that is more and more needed, offers another opportunity of investments, jobs creation and sustainability. Some good examples are the on-going and future projects of connecting the gas and oil resources, recently discovered in the Black Sea, through the hub offered by the Constanta Port, with the high demand coming from countries that are massively dependant on Russian exports.

These opportunities can take the European experience in renewable energies into new geographical areas and bring back here, on the EU territory, reliable sources and capacities of traditional fuels as fossil fuels.

I believe that the recent European Energy Security Strategy that the European Commission has released which outlines the framework for improved energy security, can be the fundament for future investments and opportunities on a large scale.

The EU Institutions are developing a European Energy Policy which aims first of all to ensure freedom, security and growth in Europe.Romania is the 7th country in size in Europe. It has a big potential that must be harnessed and in its efforts EU can significantly contribute in the benefit of all.

Foreign companies, interested in develop energy projects in South-East Europe, can take advantage of the opportunities offered by the Romanian economic environment.
The privatisation process, opening and deregulation of the internal market, together with the connections at regional level makes Romania a very profitable choice.

Following the approval process for the Energy Union Strategy and the profound regional shifts, Romania has the chance to promote its projects within EU financing schemes, in the benefit of both EU market and regional stability.

A good example could be EU – Turkmenistan Partnership and Cooperation Agreement that still waits a green light from the European Parliament. Being the rapporteur on this document I can see the potential for both sides from an energy point of view if such an agreement becomes a reality. On one hand, EU weans off from the dependence on Russian gas. On the other, Turkmenistan gains a reliable, predictable and stable partner which helps an economy that is more and more dependent on its incomes from hydrocarbons.

This cannot be done only by EU itself. Member States, based on bilateral relations, can set the cornerstone for future development. I mention this because such a need has the potential to become a major opportunity for Romania which is positioned in the right place, has a good infrastructure of gas pipelines and keeps on expanding its interconnections.

Common goals can also bring constructive answers to questions like the Russia role in this equation or the Iranian issue. They can also represent a long term basis for economic development, which, in return, is capable to support regional stability and security.

Energy infrastructure: pipes or cables that are crossing the borders or the water routs that are crossing straits and national waters today, have the power to unite or to disrupt, to bring well-being and development or cause conflicts and chaos.

I am very optimistic and I think that we have in front of us a huge potential. I can see it and I am certain that through meetings, like the one of today, we will manage to understand it better. I trust that our goals will have fruitful results: peace, prosperity and sustainability.

As a conclusion, we can all agree, that important own resources, perfect positioning and a serious infrastructure – Romania can redraw Europe’s energy map.




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