Moldova, Russia Near Gas Price Deal
Russia has agreed to grant Moldova a discount on natural gas supplies starting on October 1, Moldovan President Igor Dodon said on Facebook on September 7, following a meeting in Moscow with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.
Moldova purchases almost all of its gas from Russia under a long-term contract due to expire on December 31. It currently pays $240 per 1,000 m3 for these supplies but has been lobbying for a price reduction.
“We have agreed in principle and approved the next steps of co-operation in the gas sector, which allows me to say that [gas] tariffs for end users will not rise,” he said.
The Russian side suggested there were still some unresolved issues, however.
“Various aspects of bilateral relations, as well as the gas issue, were discussed at the meeting,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti. “Those negotiations are close to finalisation, and the proposed parameters are suitable in general.”
Dodon is keen to have a discount in place ahead of upcoming parliamentary elections in Moldova, scheduled to take place on October 20. The leader previously said he was seeking a 30% price cut.
Moldova also needs to strike a new supply contract to replace the current one when it expires at the end of this year. The country, which took 2.9bn m3 of Russian gas in 2018, wants to diversify its gas mix by importing up to 1.5bn m3 of Romanian gas via a new pipeline starting up in 2020-2021. It has also agreed with Ukraine to tap Romanian supplies by reverse-flowing the Trans-Balkan pipeline.
To safeguard against possible disruptions in Russian supplies in 2020, the Moldovan government has requested an emergency loan from the EU to cover the purchase and storage of 400mn m3 of gas next January and February. The request was made by Moldovan Economy Minister Vadim Brinzan at a meeting in Brussels with European Commission’s Deputy Director General for European Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiation Policy, Katarina Mathernova, the ministry said on September 4.
This funding could potentially be used by Moldova to import gas from the EU via Ukraine.