Victor Parlicov: Moldova will be able to negotiate a better price for Russian gas if it develops alternative sources

The Republic of Moldova should develop alternative gas supply sources so as to negotiate a better purchase price of Russian gas. “What we managed to do during a month, with a company that simply had a license – to hold tender contests and purchase gas from other sources - was a rather big success. We must further develop the capacities of Energocom, which is fully owned by the state and which can be that arm of the Government by which we can create an alternative to the gas we buy from Gazprom through the agency of Moldovagaz,” energy policies expert Victor Parlicov stated in a public debate hosted by IPN.

According to the expert, gas consumption this year was larger not only because the winter was cold and the spring and summer were chilly, but also because a large quantity of gas was used to offset the shortage of Aeolian energy. “It was a crisis that consisted of a number of factors. The shortage of gas was signaled by the Russian Federation and Gazprom and these speculated on it rather well in the own interests, especially now that Nord Stream 2 is to be put into operation. There are yet several elements to which we can refer in the case of the Republic of Moldova and this is the communication element. Don’t tell me that Gazprom was short of 30 million cubic meters of gas in October,” he said, noting the Government should have informed from the very beginning that it was a crisis created artificially by Gazprom and Moldovagaz.

Moldovagaz plays the role of a supplier that should ensure the public service. The officials of this company should have come out and told the people where the gas was and why pressure in the pipeline was absent. “I assure you that if Gazprom had realized that the social pressure would be aimed not against the Government, but against it, its availability and openness at the talks would have been witnessed much faster. I consider such a communication mistake affects also the negotiation capacity,” stated Victor Parlicov.

He noted that Moldova’s main vulnerability now is not the gas, but the electrical energy. Moldova can now ask Gazprom to supply gas not through the Transnistrian region, but through the southern part, through the Trans-Balkan gas pipeline, from the Orlovka station, as this is now technically possible. If the Transnistrian region does not pay for gas, the gas does not go further than the station in Căușeni. In this case, the region could stop the supply of energy to Moldova. The Vulcănești-Chisinau high-voltage power transmission line should be supported by an additional line that would interconnect Moldova’s system with Ukraine’s. This will strip those from the left side of the Nistru of the capacity to blackmail.

The public debate “Energy Security of the European Union and the Republic of Moldova: reciprocal lessons” is the 212th installment of the series of debates held as part of IPN’s project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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