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A new strategy paper places Romania's nuclear sector within a national and international context, and is a reflection of the importance of the sector to the country's energy needs. Foreign assistance to the sector is critical, so opportunities for strategic foreign investors may exist in this respect.

The Romanian Agency for Energy Conservation was recently established to formulate, implement and enforce government initiatives in the field of energy efficiency. Foreign investors should be aware that their operations or products may have to comply with current or future licensing or regulatory requirements imposed by this new body.

In order to address inefficiency and lack of modernization in the oil sector, the Romanian government has approved a strategy for the development of the petroleum industry over the rest of the decade. The urgent need for funding presents considerable opportunities for foreign investors to participate in all areas of this sector.

The reorganization of the state electricity company and its group, and the redistribution of its assets into four group companies, is a prelude to the privatization of the electricity distribution network and other power-related assets.

The government published two important ordinances on January 31 2000. These pave the way for the privatization and regulation of natural gas activities in Romania. However, deadlines for key subordinate legislation have not been met, and the incomplete legal framework is causing concern to existing operators and may be holding up foreign investment.