Opening Speech Romania Oil & Gas Conference

December 4, 2012


Emil Constantinescu

Dear Speakers,

Distinguished Audience,

It is a great pleasure for me to declare open the works of the Plenary Session of “Romania Oil & Gas Conference”.

The topics of the 2012 Conference: Security of Energy Supply; E&P Activities: Drilling – Investment - Health Safety & Environment; Oil & Gas Industry Regulatory Framework; Unconventional Hydrocarbons; Public and Community Engagement, cover both global issues, cross border projects, as well as investment opportunities in Romania.

I would like to salute the presence at the Conference of officials from the US State Department, from the EU, from related ministries from European countries, representatives of big companies activating in the energy field as well as well-known specialists from the USA, France, Switzerland, Poland, Greece, Bulgaria, Georgia, together with Romanian specialists in administration, business and from the academic environment.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The interest for such a conference comes from the fact that energy is indispensable for an economic sustainable development, and the way to assure a proper energy supply represents a major challenge for a world where globalization has brought into light even more the huge amount of diversity between different countries as concern own level of resources, population number and degree of economic development.

During the opening speech and on presenting conclusions, in my capacity of moderator of the debates on the Energy Strategy at the Buenos Aires World Energy Congress held in October 2002, I emphasized that sustainability barometer indicates a series of dramatic contradictions: natural resources versus population increase; economic growth versus environment protection; human welfare versus ecosystem welfare; North (developed countries) versus South (developing countries); regulations versus non-regulation on the energy market; traditional energy versus green energy; accepting versus refusing environment valorization costs, etc.

Managing contradictions on the energy market implies identifying solutions for making a balance between the increase of demand for a growing population and a developing global economy, and the minimization of its impact upon the environment.

Within this process, the oil and gas industry plays an important role for a long time from now on, including through co-financing the concurential industries and through negotiating emissions.

In order to obtain a global cooperation, we need to make a harmonization of national and regional policies through maintaining a sincere dialogue between governmental bodies and non-governmental organisms; rigorous management systems and research in the field of environment preservation.

Reaching the objectives set up by the World Congresses of Energy: availability, accessibility and acceptability of energy resources, energy security and environmental protection continue to be the key factors for a real energy development.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

21st century began through initiating an extremely ambitious agenda for democratically adopting some international political decisions. The so-called global governance initiated joint efforts under the slogans: opening and responsibility; economic sustainable development and ecological sustainability; justice in economy, in society, in the environment protection. A gradual increase has been proposed in the quality of legislation, institutional, financial and economic fields worldwide for a sustainable development of the entire planet. 

A decade after the Buenos Aires Congress, I can see that things have not evolved too much.

The situation continues to be characterized by distribution inequalities and by degrading impacts upon the global, regional and local environment, and on the human health. Overcoming the institutional and market barriers as well as applying new tax incentives do clash on a huge fiscal disorder, on the state support opacity and on an inefficient management of the demand.

Sustainable development requires a Minimum Regret Policy in the energy field. Unfortunately, we have not reached too far in this direction. The declining capacity of national governments and intergovernmental bodies to stop the decline of the life standards requires the transnational non-governmental organizations and multinational corporations to increase their role in taking a real responsibility towards future generations, and in maintaining equitable and involved societies.

We can not make a progress if we do not understand that the globalization era requires another approach of the political decisions, business environment and civil society in a new symbiosis.

I refer, first, at formulating some truths screened by what is called ”politicaly corectness”. At a recent the Board meeting of the World Academy of Art and Science with outstanding representatives of the Club of Rome, where was discussed the energy issue, I have mentioned the Report written in 1976 by the distinguished Romanian scholar Georgescu-Roegen. In this Report, entitled "The Third Prometheus" Georgescu-Roegen was foreseeing the future of non-conventional energies. These energies have broke forth in our present days, but they are still not well defined, reason for what they are considered either utopias or a panacea. On this occasion, I have proposed a more serious and more courageous involvement of scientists in shaping concepts. I have noticed that too often good ideas become, before being seriously considered, propaganda slogans used by politicians and myths popularized by the media. Of course, with the benefit of a statesman experience, I can understand that facing the dangers of populism depleting resources for political gains, a positive manipulation with emotional effects can be beneficial for their preservation. But I strongly believe that scientists should not deviate from a rational and complex analysis of phenomena. Unfortunately, ecology so promising in the beginning has become sometimes a totalitarian exercise tending to eliminate scientific and economic arguments inconsistent with partisan ideology. This fact is visible from the exaggerations regarding global warming theory, based on no scientific ground, upto the avoiding to highlight the inconveniences of "green" energies. I do not think that inconveniences created by large spaces necessary for solar and wind installations, by annihilating landscape and by the unstudied effect of bird migration route disturbance can be neglected. In the case of hydropowers, cannot be neglected the greenhouse effect of methane released from the decomposition of organic matter accumulated in water retention basins or the change of silt regime so visible in the Danube Delta. The plants using tidal power can destroy the birds’ and animals’ habitat due to their barriers built along the coast and estuaries. In the case of geyser thermal energy, pipes can affect the nature reservations, where they are often set. The most serious inconveniences arise when talking about biogas, which needs 125,000 acres to produce an amount of energy equal to that of a nuclear reactor. Biogas production has negative effects on the humanity’s food sources by abandoning cereal crops. Or on climate, through deforestation.

And thus looks like there are no "clean energies" in an absolute way and devil sometimes hides in details. In this case, even in what is commonly condemned in conventional energies. A comprehensive study on unconventional energies must consider, as in the case of conventional energies, to identify risks, risk management, and ways to reduce them. At the same time, such a study must avoid using the "green" path for manipulating civil society into dirty wars between companies interested in promoting a certain type of energy. We must avoid to put "The Blue Planet in Green Shackles". This is the very title of Vaclav Klaus’s book, currently President of the Czech Republic, who gave it to me as a gift and which, for a reason I do not know, was not yet translated into Romanian.

Specialists from the academic enviroment, free from the pressure made by financial profit, political vote or TVrating should be stimulated to work independently. I believe that big companies in the energy field, instead of being focused on bribing politicians and mass media ahould transparently finance an exhaustive research on the complex issue of energy and its impact on human and nature. A research which would really raise at the level of the knowldge society. I consider that the Panels 4 and 5 theme constitutes a step in this way.  

As regards the part of the conference  refering to Romania (Panel 3), we must remember the three world premieres in the oil industry: one in 1857, when with more than 150 years ago, it was the first country in the world recorded in the statistics with a production of 275 tonnes of crude oil; then the commissioning of the world's first refinery built in Ploiesti by Mehedinţeanu brothers; and Bucharest, recorded as the first city in the world being lit with lamp oil produced in the Ploiesti refinery.

At the end of 2007, when specialists in oil and gas industry celebrated 150 years of oil industry Romania, and were highlighted the research performances in exploring and exploiting oil fields, three elements were found essential for the natural accumulation of hydrocarbons - oil and gas in our country gathered by Prof. N. Anastasiu in "Tradition and Performance in the World of Oil Geologists", 2008

Accumulations presence in almost all Carpathians extra-Carpathians geological units, but in the form of small and medium-sized deposits.

-    Sedimentary formations having qualities of "source rock", "collector or tank" and "screen" can be found throughout the entire stratigraphic range from Paleozoic to late Tertiary period.

-    Petroliferous structures are well-known until depths of 3.500 m.

We have many premises to believe that in the future, using advanced geophysical methods - 3D - seismic,  high resolution geophysical core sampling, new deposits will be revealed at depths greater than 4000 m.

Updating and reconsidering old geological information, upon their complete transfer into electronic data banks, according to new concepts - sequence stratigraphy, seismic stratigraphy, basin analysis, can motivate new projects and exploration programs on hydrocarbons.

A refined geological reinterpretation might lead to discovering new petroliferous structures. We expect the new generation of specialists working in the oil and gas field to continue and develop the performances achieved by our predecessors. This conference offers a good occasion for such an attempt.

In the end, let me thank the company hosted panels, the main sponsor, to other who contributed to the conference, to the meadia partners and to wish success to all panelists.