Romania’s energy sector is characterised by the influence that the state continues to exert. Despite initiating several privatisation processes following the collapse of the Soviet Union, these have consistently been interrupted due to a variety of economic and political factors. Furthermore, despite being an EU member for ten years, Romania’s energy sector has not been fully privatised, with the state still owning the majority of the sector’s key energy companies.

Most electricity produced in Romania originates from coal (26.89%), followed by hydroelectric (27.36%) and nuclear (17.83%) power; with gas constituting 13.68% of all energy production (ANRE National Report, 31.08.2016). Despite being an oil and gas producer, and having two nuclear plants, Romania is still a net importer of oil and gas.

Within this context, the political control that the government exerts over the industry is a key factor when assessing potential energy sector opportunities in the country. The major companies involved in the sector - Hidroelectrica, Nucleareletrica and Romgaz – are all majority owned by the Romanian government, which exerts its influence through the Ministry of Energy.

The state’s continued control over these assets make them vulnerable to the political and personal interests of government elements. The transparency and independence of Romania’s energy sector is further undermined by a lack of independent authorities regulating the market, and supervising the government. This reality has triggered several cases of mismanagement and embezzlement, which I has further been aggravated as a result of the diminished power of the EU since 2008.