Moldova meets deadline for paying Russian gas debt
Moldova paid off its debt for recent gas supplies from Russia on November 26, Gazprom representative Sergey Kupriyanov told Russian state media that day, while raising concern that non-payment could be a recurring problem.
Gazprom had threatened to cut gas supplies to Moldova unless it paid off its debt for volumes delivered in October and the first half of November by November 24. When this deadline was not met, it gave Moldova an extra two days to settle the debt.
"Moldova paid off the current arrears," he told reporters. "Gazprom showed goodwill and granted a delay, although it had every reason to stop deliveries. The problem has been resolved."
At the same time, Kupriyanov said recent events were evidence of "systemic problems in the energy sector of Moldova," warning that the country could fail to pay on time again.
Moldova is only a few weeks into a new long-term gas supply contract with Gazprom. The country relies on the Russian supplier for almost 100% of its gas, even though it is capable of importing supplies from Romania, Ukraine and other countries in southeast Europe.
Gazprom has control over Moldova's internal gas transmission and distribution operations, and this has made it difficult for the country to diversify away from Russian gas. Under its current contract, Russian gas is also significantly cheaper than spot supplies it could obtain from elsewhere.