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Russia's Gazprom threatens to cut gas supply to Moldova - report

Russia's Gazprom threatens to cut gas supply to Moldova - report Gas pipelines

CHISINAU (Moldova), November 23 (SeeNews) - Russian energy corporation Gazprom has threatened to cut off natural gas supply to Moldova if the country fails to pay for recent deliveries, Moldovan media reported.

Gazprom notified the Moldovan side that in 48 hours gas supplies will be stopped in accordance with the contract, as the deadline for current payments is November 22, economic news portal Mold-Street quoted Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupryanov as telling Russian broadcaster NTV on Monday.

Molodvan minister for infrastructure and development Andrei Spinu said he had not seen Gazprom's notification, as it was sent directly to gas utility company Moldovagaz. For his part, Moldovagaz president Vadim Ceban said the debt owed to Gazprom is worth some 1.3 billion lei ($74 million/ 65 million euro) and represents payment for gas delivered in October and the first half of November, according to Mold-Street.

At the end of October, Gazprom announced that it has extended by five years its contract with Moldovagaz for the supply and transit of natural gas. Moldova's contract with Gazprom expired at the end of September and the government in Chisinau asked for an extension, but did not accept Gazprom's price offer of $790 (700 euro) per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, according to local media reports.

In 2020, Gazprom supplied 3.05 billion cubic meters of gas to Moldova, up by an annual 5.5%, according to the company's own data. Gazprom owns 50% of Moldovagaz, the Moldovan government owns 35.33% and the remaining 13.44% is held by the government of Transnistria, the pro-Russian separatist republic within Moldova.

In October, the European Commission said it is granting Moldova 60 million euro to help it navigate through an energy crisis due to difficulties in striking a new deal with Gazprom. On October 22, Moldova's parliament introduced a 30-day state of emergency starting immediately due to a shortage of natural gas supplies. During the state of emergency, the government is allowed to buy gas under a simplified procedure.

Thus, Moldova bought a total of 3.5 million cubic metres of natural gas from multinational company DXT Commodities, Dutch energy and commodity trading company Vitol and from Poland's PGNiG Group. These were the first ever gas deliveries to Moldova from a non-Russian source.

Moldova has no gas deposits of its own and covers all of its gas needs by importing the fuel from Russia.

(1 euro=19.948 Moldovan lei)