As previously reported, on 10 May 2016, the Romanian Parliament adopted a public procurement legislative package intended to transpose EU public procurement directives.

The most important change in the legislative package is the exclusion of oil and gas exploration activities from the scope of the procurement rules. Furthermore, procurement by entities operating in the water, energy, transport and postal services sectors will be governed by a separate law.

Under the new package, the extraction and production of oil and natural gas are considered to be “relevant activities” which fall under the scope of the new legislative package, as are the development works of infrastructure connected to such production. However, exploration activity is not considered to be a relevant activity and therefore is not covered by the new laws.

On the other hand, whenever dealing with joint ventures specific to the oil and gas industry, it will be interesting to see to what extent the association between a contracting entity and a non-contracting entity will be subject to the new public procurement package.

Another main change relevant to the energy sector, is that the legislative package provides the “best price-quality ratio” as the selection criteria for sophisticated products and intellectual services, such as consultancy services, technical assistance and engineering services. The best price-quality ratio is assessed on qualitative, environmental and/or social aspects linked to the subject-matter of the public contract in question; such criteria may include quality, technical merit, aesthetic and functional characteristics or the organisation, qualification and experience of the staff assigned to perform the contract.

In addition, the value of services and works which can be directly acquired by the public authorities, without organising a tender procedure, has been reduced by half compared to the former legal provisions. (The values in the new legislation are approximately EUR 15,000 for services and products and approximately EUR 60,000 for works contracts.)

It is also worth noting that the applicability thresholds for procedures for contract awards were modified as follows: approximately EUR 400,000 for supply and service contracts and EUR 5,000,000 for works contracts.

The legislative package must now be presented to the Romanian President in order to be promulgated.