As of 1 April 2017, the price of gas sold by domestic producers in Romania will be determined as a result of free market supply and demand factors, as decided by the Romanian government last year in Emergency Ordinance no. 64/2016 (the “EO”). The liberalization process started in late 2007 and was completed for non-households in 2014. The liberalisation aims to create a competitive, transparent and non-discriminatory mechanism for the sale of natural gas in Romanian market.
Under the EO, the government may only intervene to regulate the price of natural gas sold by suppliers to household consumers. Potential differences between the market price and the gas price established by the government, may be recalculated in accordance with calculations approved each year by Romanian Energy Regulatory Authority (“ANRE”). ANRE will have until 31 March of each year to establish the final natural gas price for households, depending on both the approved costs of the suppliers and the value of the gas price on the wholesale or competitive market.
Another important measure that became effective on 1 April 2017 is the elimination of legal restrictions on natural gas exports. The previous version of the Energy Law obliged natural gas producers to make certain volumes of natural gas - necessary to satisfy household consumption and thermal energy production - available to suppliers with priority; only the remaining volume was available for trade on the competitive market, thus creating a barrier to export. Nevertheless, producers and suppliers remain obligated to sell/buy a certain quota of total contracted volumes through centralised markets, as determined annually by the government, in order to create a fluid and competitive local gas market.