19 Jan 2022 22:14

Deputy PM says gas crisis in Moldova caused by situation on global energy market

CHISINAU. Jan 19 (Interfax) - Moldova's gas crisis has been prompted by the situation on the global energy market rather than by the contract with Russia's Gazprom , Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister, Infrastructure and Regional Development Minister Andrei Spinu said.

"This crisis has been provoked not by the contract but by the situation on the global market for energy resources. At this point, there are abnormal gas prices on the market. Once the situation normalizes, there will be no crisis," Spinu said at a press conference in Chisinau late on Wednesday.

At the same time, he expressed regret over the actions of Gazprom, which earlier refused to grant Moldovagaz a deferral of the advance payment for January.

"Gazprom's actions are deplorable. The regulation on advance payments became part of the contract in 2006. In 2011-2014, Moldovagaz would accumulate up to more than $400 million of debt. This indebtedness was later settled. But never has Gazprom resorted to such measures. We regret this kind of change in Gazprom's attitude toward Moldova," Spinu said.

Moldovan Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita avoided answering a question from journalists as to whether this kind of Gazprom's attitude was actually "political pressure from Russia." "We regret that this kind of change in attitudes has happened. The accumulation of negative deviations has always been normal practice in the sphere of energy," she said.

The Moldovan government on Wednesday approved the decision to introduce state of emergency in the energy sector for 60 days. This decision is to be endorsed by the Moldovan parliament.

After that, the Moldovan government is going to decide on granting Moldovagaz a VAT deferral, Gavrilita said. The government will pay the company advances in reimbursement of compensations for residents in January and February. These measures will help Moldovagaz accumulate and transfer to Gazprom $25 million needed to prevent any stoppage in gas supplies.

Under the five-year contract between Moldovagaz and Gazprom, which entered into force on November 1, 2021, the Moldovan side must pay before the 20th day of each month for gas supplied the previous month and make an advance payment for next month.

Last Tuesday, Gazprom rejected the request of Moldovagaz for a deferral of the advance payment for January until February 1 or 20. Gazprom stressed that it reserves the right to stop gas supplies to Moldova from January 22 unless the advance payment is made before 12:00 p.m. on January 21.

As of the morning of January 21, the outstanding part of the January advance payment will be approximately $25 million out of the total amount of $63 million.