16 Jan 2024 16:19

Moldova needs to increase its gas transportation capacity - Energy Minister

CHISINAU. Dec 16 (Interfax) - Moldova needs to increase its gas transportation capacity, the Republic's Energy Minister Viktor Parlikov said.

"Vestmoldtransgaz must offer a solution on how best to develop its network on the territory of Moldova so as to provide us with the flexibility to deliver and pick up gas from Romania for transport to Ukraine and vice versa. The more gas that transits through the territory of Moldova, the less pressure there will be on our consumers. With an increase in transit volumes, we will be able to reduce rates for domestic consumers," Parlikov said during a speech on Moldovan TV on Tuesday.

He said that Vestmoldtransgaz, which is certified by the National Agency for Energy Regulation as a gas transmission system operator, "analyzes Moldova's transmission capacity and determines how best to use its existing potential." Among the options under consideration is an increase in the capacity of natural gas transportation and the expansion of the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline by building a gas transport pipeline called the "Chisinau Belt." The goal can be achieved by the end of 2031.

This is also provided for in a joint memorandum signed at the end of last year by the Energy Ministers of Moldova and Romania, Viktor Parlikov and Sebastian-Ioan Burduja. The memorandum envisages the unification of the gas and electricity networks of the two countries. Regarding the interconnection of electricity networks, the memorandum provides for the creation of a 400 kilowatt power transmission line (Suceava - Balti), which will directly connect Romania and Moldova, as well as the modernization of the existing Husi - Cioara 110 kW power line.

In September 2023, Vestmoldtransgaz, as owner of the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline, was certified by the National Agency for Energy Regulation as a gas transmission system operator. The company's shareholders are Romania's Transgaz with 75% and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with 25%.

As reported, Moldovagaz and Gazprom signed a five-year gas supply contract, which came into force on November 1, 2021. As of October 1, 2022, the daily volume of gas supplied to Moldova has been reduced 30% to 5.7 million cum. Gazprom explained this as being the result of technical problems associated with restrictions on gas transit through Ukraine. Until now, Moldova has been receiving the same volume of gas, 5.7 mcm, per day, which is less than 40% of its needs during the cold season.

The republic has been supplying the entire volume of its Russian gas to Transnistria since December 4, 2022, which in return covers more than 80% of Moldova's electricity needs. The contract with the Moldavskaya GRES runs through the end of 2024.

The right bank of the Dniester purchases gas on the spot market. Part of the gas purchased in Europe comes through Ukraine, while the rest comes through the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline. However, its capacity is limited, and it cannot supply fuel south of Chisinau.