Friday, June 18, 2010

Romania negotiates cheaper Russian gas-EconMin

BUCHAREST, June 17 (Reuters) - Romania has negotiated lower prices for some of the gas it imports from Russia and hopes to get further cuts by the end of the year, Economy Minister Adriean Videanu said on Thursday. 

Speaking a day after meeting Gazprom officials in Moscow, Videanu said he found a "willingness to cut imported gas prices" from the supplier.

He said Romania has already negotiated a cut of $13 per thousand cubic metres of gas imported from Wintershall, an intermediary.

"This gives me confidence concerning the gradual lowering of gas prices," Videanu told reporters. "We are still negotiating and I am counting on more cuts (by year-end)."
After the price cut, which Videanu said was recently negotiated, Romania paid for stored gas at $352 per thousand cubic metres.

The European Union state is less reliant on Russian gas than other ex-communist bloc members, importing a third of its annual domestic consumption through intermediaries, and producing the rest from local fields.

Romania has recently signalled it wants to expand its range of choices from European Union and Kremlin-backed projects. Earlier this year, it signed a deal with Georgia and Azerbaijan to build two new terminals for liquefied natural gas (LNG).

Videanu said in April he had asked state-owned gas producer Romgaz to tap spot international markets for potential future gas imports as a way to diversify from Russian imports.

Also on Thursday, Videanu said Gazprom showed interest in partnering state-owned Romgaz in building gas-fired electricity units.

Talks will likely continue in the autumn when Gazprom's chief executive is expected to visit Bucharest.

Videanu also said he estimated the government could sell some of its shares in Romania's top oil and gas group Petrom , majority owned by Austria's OMV in September.

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