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Chamber of Deputies / PSD loses UDMR’s support for amending Offshore Law, draft returns to committees for a week

de Razvan Diaconu , 8.10.2018

The plenum of the Chamber of Deputies decided on Wednesday to resend the Offshore Law to committees after a seemingly surprising request of UDMR leader Kelemen Hunor (photo).

The draft had passed on Tuesday the Industry, Budget and Administration Committees, where PSD benefited from UDMR’s support in adopting last-minute amendments that caused protests of ALDE coalition partners and oil companies.

On Tuesday, ALDE representatives withdrew from committees after ALDE leader Varujan Vosganian accused PSD of lack of transparency and called the meeting “an improvisation.”

ALDE Vice President Andrei Gerea was more vehement in the evening and said that “interests are directed towards continuing imports from Russia and not starting works in the Black Sea.”

On Wednesday, Romanian Black Sea Offshore Concessionaires Association (ARCOMN) accused, in a letter to the Parliament and the Government that the latest form of the Offshore Law makes final investment decisions for the exploitation of gas in the respective perimeters impossible.

Representatives of the big players in the market (Exxon, OMV and Black Sea Oil & Gas, associated within ARCOMN) were not allowed to present their own views. Consequently, everyone left the meeting of the joint committees.

The new form of the law, following the latest PSD amendments, reintroduces the tax increase by taxing the extra income from the exploitation of Black Sea resources and reducing the share of deductions of investment made.

There is also a system of authorizations that make operations more difficult.

Representatives of ALDE, government partner of PSD, also had complaints about the Offshore Law. Leader of ALDE deputies Varujan Vosganian said on Wednesday that his party agreed to resend the Offshore Law to committees so that the Government could “assume very clearly” any change and ALDE does not wish to make any concessions for investors, but a fair dialogue with them.

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