CHISINAU (Moldova), June 14 (SeeNews) - Moldova is in talks with Azerbaijan for purchases and storage of natural gas, fearing shortage of supplies from Russia's Gazprom after October, Moldova's deputy prime minister Andrei Spinu said.
"Moldova has a chance to buy gas from Azerbaijan, it has a real chance to finally diversify its gas supply sources, and this will happen sooner or later. I will not give a deadline, but I guarantee you that in the coming years, Moldova will have diversified sources of gas. This could happen even this year," Spinu, who is also minister of infrastructure and regional development, said on Monday evening during a talk show on local TV8.
"We are discussing with colleagues in Azerbaijan; we are not looking for supply alternatives only, but also for storage solutions during summer," Spinu added.
According to Spinu, Moldova managed to buy 24 million cu m of natural gas at a very good price last month and store it temporarily with state-owned company Energocom. The amount would meet consumption needs for a month in summer months or for at most a week during winter.
Spinu also said that the current contract with Gazprom covers shipments only until October, and that there are risks that the Russian company will stop or diminish gas supplies after that date. Moldova has no gas deposits of its own and covers all of its gas needs by imports from Russia.
In April, president Maia Sandu said that Moldova cannot stop purchasing gas from Russia but the government is looking for alternatives.
In March, Moldova's government applied for a $300 million (287 million euro) loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and intends using part of the proceeds towards purchases of natural gas. At the time, Romanian foreign affairs minister Bogdan Aurescu said that Romania is ready to build on its territory a gas storage capacity or host gas for Moldova in order to help it reduce its dependence of Russian gas.
($= 0.9575 euro)