Moldova says “thanks, but no thanks” to Romanian gas
Romanian suppliers are interested in selling natural gas in the Republic of Moldova, confirmed Vadim Ceban, the head of Moldova's gas distribution company Moldovagaz. But he also said that "today it's cheaper to buy gas from Russia," Economica.net reported
Ceban confirmed that Moldovagaz wants to sign a more favorable contract with Gazprom, to buy gas from the Russian giant in the next three years.
Romania's gas transport system operator Tranzgaz has just commissioned the EUR 150 million gas route Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau to bring Romanian gas to the industrialized area around Moldova's capital city.
However, the pipeline is still empty. The regulatory, economic, and political factors could keep it so in the next period.
Moldova is in the process of implementing the Third Energy Package that implies the market's liberalization, and Gazprom formally accepted the unbundling of Moldovagaz (the gas distribution company) and Moldovatransgaz (the transport system operator).
Gazprom controls both of them and holds a massive USD 5-6 bln claim against them, most of it (but not all of it) generated by the gas deliveries to Transnistria that the unrecognized separatist republic never paid.
Under the Third Energy Package regulations, Moldovagaz should organize a tender and choose the cheapest offer (supplier). But given the circumstances, this is unlikely to happen soon.
According to S&P Global Platts, the new Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline will strengthen Moldova's negotiating position with the Russian giant.
Still, it will not be an alternative to gas supplied by Gazprom - at most a source for balancing the market when needed.
(Photo: Oleg Gerasymenko/ Dreamstime)