9 Dec 2019 20:01

Moldovan opposition proposes signing gas contract with Ukraine

CHISINAU. Dec 9 (Interfax) - The Moldovan opposition demands urgent hearings of the issue concerning natural gas supplies to the republic, Dignity and Truth Platform Andrei Nastase told a press conference on Monday.

The top management at Moldovagaz should begin talks and sign a gas transit contract with Ukraine to "avoid an energy crisis before alternative supply sources appear," Nastase said.

"Such a possibility exists. Ukraine has already made a similar proposal in the summer. Moldova needs 17-18 million cubic meters of natural gas per day for both sides of [River] Dniester during the cold weather period."

A similar claim was made by the PAS party leader and former prime minister Maia Sandu, who said there was "the risk of remaining without heating."

"After our government's resignation talks with Romania and Ukraine were blocked. The pernicious foreign policy of [President Igor] Dodon's government is putting our country's energy security at risk," Sandu wrote on social media.

The minister of the economy and infrastructure "must urgently clarify all details of the matter with the parliament," Sandu said. Her party's suggestion last week that the parliament consider the issue was rejected by the parliamentary majority.

In late September Sandu's government was in talks over creating a supply of natural gas in Ukraine's storage facilities. President Dodon said at the time that Gazprom [MOEX: GAZP] and Moldovagaz had already signed preliminary agreements on gas supplies to Moldova. Dodon also rejected the idea of buying and storing gas as being "inefficient" and one that required taking a loan.

Last week the issue was discussed by Moldova's Supreme Security Council. Dodon said that Moldova would be supplied with electricity and gas in sufficient quantities after the New Year holiday period.

"Russian gas supplies to Moldova will continue, either via Ukraine or via South Stream, in reverse flows via Turkey, Bulgaria and Romania. The price for Moldova will remain unchanged. From next year, it will be $172 per 1,000 cubic meters. Transport costs will be borne by the supplier," Dodon said.

Later, however, the government decided to begin talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development over a $90 million loan for buying natural gas, should Russian supplies via Ukraine discontinue.