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    Moldovagaz debt audit deadline pushed to October


But Moldovagaz wants until March next year to calculate its debt to Gazprom.

by: Callum Cyrus

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Natural Gas & LNG News, Europe, Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG), Security of Supply, Corporate, Financials, Balkans/SEE Focus, News By Country, Moldova

Moldovagaz debt audit deadline pushed to October

Gazprom has extended the deadline for an audit of debts owed by Moldova's state utility Moldovagaz until October 1, Moldovagaz CEO Vadim Ceban wrote August 31 in a Telegram post.

The audit is being carried out after Moldovagaz disputed the original $709mn debt figure attributed by Gazprom last October.

Moldovagaz has pressed repeatedly for more time to complete the audit, as many of its customers are struggling to pay their energy bills. Moldova's minister of infrastructure and regional development Andrei Spinu reiterated on his Telegram channel that it would take until March 31, 2023 for the audit to be completed.

"I talked with Alexei Miller, the general director of Gazprom, regarding the situation of gas deliveries for the next period," Spinu wrote. "We discussed the debt audit, MoldovaGaz's ability to pay the high price for gas and the prospects for gas delivery for the coming winter."

"I informed [Gazprom] it is not possible to complete the audit by October 1, and reiterated the need to extend until March 23, 2023. We will continue the discussions in the next period as well."

Ceban also reaffirmed the preferred March 31, 2023 deadline on Telegram. Moldovagaz has been trying to increase bill collections from both businesses and households in the meantime, having last month announced plans to suspend more than 2,000 business accounts.

Ceban's business is hamstrung by Moldova's regulated gas tariff, which at just $899/'000 m3 substantially trails Gazprom's contracted rate of $1,458/'oo0 m3. Moldovagaz's revenue difficulties have led to Gazprom postponing an advance payment on this month's contracted gas, and Ceban estimates it will accrue a further 409mn lei ($21.2mn) in tariff deviations.