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Aug 31, 2022 18:00 EEST
August 31 (SeeNews) - Moldova's deputy prime minister Andrei Spinu said that the government still has not reached an agreement with Russia's Gazprom on delaying the audit of historic debt of public natural gas supplier Moldovagaz until March 2023.
Gazprom has agreed to extend the deadline for the audit only until October 1, Spinu, who also holds the position of infrastructure minister, said in a post on social media.
"I informed Gazprom that the audit is impossible until October 1 and reiterated the need to extend the deadline until March 31, 2023. We will continue discussions in the next period," Spinu added.
He also said that Gazprom has confirmed the agreed volume of gas supplies to Moldova for September.
Moldovagaz owes some $700 million (701.4 million) to Gazprom for gas deliveries made before 2019, of which $300 million are penalties, according to information posted on Gazprom's website in October. Moldovan authorities said at the time that they will acknowledge the debt only after an audit. The two parties agreed on the audit at the time, and the Moldovan government was supposed to sign a contract by May.
Earlier this month, Moldova's government announced it has signed a contract with Norways Wikborg Rein Advokatfirma and with UK's Forensic Risk Alliance & Co for the audit, which was supposed to be completed by 1 January 2023.
On Tuesday, Moldovagaz paid Gazprom $16 million for gas deliveries made in the first half on August, with a 10-day delay, Moldovagaz CEO Vadim Ceban wrote in a post on Telegram.
"This became possible thanks to the decision of the National Commission for Emergency Situations, according to which Energocom will purchase 10 million cubic meters of gas from Moldovagaz," Vadim Ceban said.
On Monday, the CSE requested state-owned energy trader Energocom to buy 10 million cubic meters of natural gas from Moldovagaz for storage in Romania.
On August 17, Moldovagaz asked Gazprom to postpone its advance payment for August and September until December.
Earlier this month, Moldovagaz said that it had ordered the suspension of gas deliveries to more than 2,000 non-household gas users over 75.53 million lei ($3.94 million/3.87 million euro) unpaid debts which threatens the company's ability to pay Gazprom for gas imports.
Russia's Gazprom owns 50% of Moldovagaz, the Moldovan government owns 35.33% and 13.44% is held by the government of Transnistria, the pro-Russian separatist republic within Moldova.
(1 euro=19.3337 lei)
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