9 Jun 2023 16:50

Moldova intends to increase gas reserves in Ukrainian and Romanian reservoirs - Energocom

CHISINAU. June 9 (Interfax) - Moldova intends to increase its gas reserves in storage facilities in Ukraine and Romania, the head of Energocom (the state-owned main importer of gas and electricity for the republic) Vadim Bynzar said at a press conference on Friday.

"We have large reserves now since last winter. We stocked up and bought gas at a high price, as Gazprom reduced supplies and there was a threat of complete cessation. In addition, we did not expect the gas consumption decrease in Moldova to almost double as consumers switched to other types of fuel during a warm winter," Bynzar said.

Commenting on accusations in the Moldovan media regarding gas purchases last winter at the highest prices in Europe, he called them "false and manipulative."

"The nearly 600 million cubic meters of gas purchased were in line with the forecasts of the relevant ministry, considering the need to survive the winter, savings measures and the transition of Termoelectrica to the use of fuel oil instead of gas. Regarding each purchasing decision, it can be argued that it was a good opportunity at the time," Bynzar said.

He said that since January 19, Energocom has not purchased gas from the market and has been using gas from storage facilities. Nearly 100 million cubic meters remain there, and there is also a government order to replenish strategic gas reserves by another 22.8 million cubic meters, he said. Moldova pays 1.59 euros per 1 MW per year for gas storage in Ukrainian underground storage facilities.

The company will not buy Russian gas, the Energocom director said. In addition, for the summer period Energocom has signed gas purchase contracts with two companies, Greek DEPA and a Romanian seller, whose name was not disclosed under the terms of the contract.

Earlier it was reported that this week, for the first time in two years, the gas tariff for end-consumers was reduced. On Wednesday, the National Energy Regulatory Agency decided to reduce the tariff by 38% to 18.06 lei, inclusive of 8% VAT, per cubic meter.

Moldovagaz and Gazprom signed a five-year contract for the supply of gas, which entered into force on November 1, 2021. According to the formula detailed in the contract, from October 1 to March 31, the price is formed at the rate of 30% of the price of gas on the spot market and 70% of the price of oil. From March 1 to September 30, the opposite is true, and 70% of the price depends on the price of gas on the spot market, and 30% on the price of oil.

After the signing of the new contract, tariffs for consumers were brought into line with its terms, increasing 2.4 times. Starting January 1, 2022, tariffs were increased an additional 40%, and on June 1, by another 30%. On October 1, they went up another 27%. Thus, in just one-and-a-half years, tariffs for consumers increased nearly sixfold.

Starting October 1, 2022, the daily volume of gas supplied to Moldova was reduced 30% to 5.7 million cubic meters per day. The right-bank area of Moldova used Gazprom gas only until December 3, 2022. Since December 4, Moldovagaz has been supplying the entire volume of gas from Gazprom to Transnistria, which in return covers more than 80% of Moldova's electricity needs. The purchase price of natural gas supplied by Gazprom in June is $568 per 1,000 cubic meters.

The official exchange rate as of June 9 is 17.85 lei/$1.