Country Listing

Romania Table of Contents

Romania

Coal

The energy program of the 1970s and 1980s aimed for dramatic increases in coal output to compensate for the reduced role of oil and natural gas in power production. The use of oil and gas in electricity generation was projected to drop from 50 percent in 1981 to 5 percent in 1990. When Romania's energy vulnerability had been revealed by the stoppage of crude oil shipments from Iran in the late 1970s, Ceausescu launched a campaign to expand coal production rapidly. Because of labor unrest in the Jiu Valley, the primary coal-mining region, he decided to develop other coal fields. But the coal from the new mines turned out to be of poorer quality and had a lower caloric content. Although a total of thirty-five new open-pit and underground mines began operating during the 1982-85 period, the initial output target of 86 million tons annually by 1985 had to be revised to 64 million tons, and actual production amounted to just 44 million tons. Even as late as 1988, only 58.8 million tons were mined. Poor mine-development methods, numerous accidents, pit flooding, equipment failure, and high labor turnover were the principal causes of the industry's disappointing performance.

Coal production could not keep up with industrial needs. Nearly three-fourths of coal output was burned by large thermoelectric power plants located at or near the major coal basins. Large quantities of coking coal had to be imported from the Soviet Union. In 1989 Hancock Mining Company of Australia signed a contract to deliver up to 6 million tons of coking coal annually for a twelveyear period.

Data as of July 1989