Learn to live with the Bear at your door. Romania and European energy security


Policy memo, no 10, May 2010

Author: Robert Uzună

The Romanian Center for European Policies released today the memoLearn to live with the Bear at your door” – Romania and European energy security. The report examines different aspects of Europe’s energy security and presents Romania as a case study.

According to the report, Europe’s energy dependence will increase until 2030. EU countries will consume by then 11% more energy compared to the reference year 2005. At the same time, Europe’s domestic production will steadily decline. EU’s import dependency will increase by 2030, mostly for oil – 95% of which will be imported, followed by gas with 84% (compared with 58% currently).

Romania’s dependence on imported energy is lower than the EU-27 average: 54% for oil compared with the European average of 83% and 42% for gas to the European average of 58%.

The report analyzes various European projects aimed at diversifying energy sources and transport routes. Most importantly, the Nabucco project faces an important test: 2010 will be a crucial year. The final investment decision needs to be taken until the end of this year. It is not too late for Russia to intervene decisively and reverse a decision of an EU Member State (or at least make it delay the necessary steps for the project implementation) or to make an offer that can’t be refused by Azerbaijdan (which would block the start of the project).

Some of the report’s recommendations: 
Romania might set itself, as part of a wider strategy, the objective of pragmatic cooperation with Russia in dwelling with those projects which can be mutually beneficial, such as the gas deposit in Margineni. That is “to learn to live with the bear at the door”, in a pragmatic manner.
Such an approach could also allow Romania to strategically invest in the Republic of Moldova, either by helping it build power plants in other regions than the monopolistic Transnistria, or by completing the interconnectors’ ring with Hungary and Bulgaria, therefore “securing” in part the European future of this country.

Other recommendations target the development of an institutional structure to manage energy policy; the development of renewable energy for an appropriate energy mix; further LNG projects.

The report is available here.