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THE FOREIGN INVESTORS COUNCIL EMPHASIZES THE NEED TO FOSTER INVESTMENTS IN THE ROMANIAN ENERGY SECTOR


The Foreign Investors Council (FIC) raised awareness on the need to promote investments in the energy sector and on the regulatory challenges the industry is facing to attract further investments in the modernization of this essential sector of the Romanian economy during a Conference organized on May 7th, 2012.

Three of the Board members of the FIC, Eric Stab, Frank Hajdinjak and Jean Valvis, presented the investments carried out by foreign companies over the past ten years, the further investment needs of the sector and the public policies and regulatory approaches which are required to foster a continuous and sustained interest of investors.

The most significant investment effort has been made by foreign investors so far. The work done by the Energy Task Force of the FIC highlighted that:

  • foreign investors operating in the energy sector have invested more than €16 billion in Romania since 2002, which contributed to the stability of an area that used to be significantly underfinanced;
  • energy companies where foreign investors play a significant role have contributed around €4 billion to the State budgets in 2011 from VAT, income tax, royalties, excises and employers’ payments;
  • these energy companies employ around 54,000 people and use the services of tens of thousands of both small and large Romanian companies, thus having a significant horizontal effect in the economy and contributing to the country’s sustainable economic growth.

The energy sector is undergoing an unprecedented transformation. Significant penetration of renewable energy sources, the discovery of new gas resources, the prospects of further liberalization of energy markets, the required compliance with EU environmental targets as well as planned new electricity and gas laws will deeply impact the way energy markets will function in the coming years.

This transformation has to be sustained though in the decade ahead of us by significant investments in new energy assets. The implementation of these investments represents the most important challenge to be adequately addressed by State Authorities and energy companies operating in Romania today and tomorrow.

The investments done so far by foreign companies do therefore represent only a part of the overall effort which is required by the modernization of the energy sector. Some segments (such as coal mining, energy efficiency or thermal electricity generation) have attracted very low investments compared to their needs. The government has estimated that the sector requires an overall investment effort of more than €30 billion until 2020, of which about €18 billion in electricity generation, where Romania is facing a risk of shortage of generation capacities in this decade.

Direct foreign investments are the most likely source which could provide financing for such significant investment effort in the coming years.

To attract new investments in the energy sector however, Romania needs to put in place a market which is a stable, predictable and transparent in terms of implementation of public policies and regulatory framework. To be appealing for investments in the long run, the sector has to be liberalized and less bureaucratic, reconciling the important aspect of short-term affordability of energy prices with the critical issue of long-term security of supply.

Eric Stab, member of the Board of the FIC and Chairman of the Energy Task Force, emphasized that "Additional investments would represent new sources of economic growth and industrial competitiveness, increase the security of supply and energy independence and provide new employment opportunities to citizens as well as more revenue sources to the State".


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