CHISINAU, March 22 (Itar-Tass) —— Moldova and Russia will sign an agreement to protect Russian investments in the republic. This issue was discussed at the negotiations on a new contract for Russian gas supplies to Moldova, Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Valeriu Lazar told reporters on Thursday.
“Moscow is having a very complicated dialogue with the European Commission over the third energy package, which bans the suppliers to control the gas pipelines. In 2010 Moldova joined the Energy Community, after that Moscow voiced concerns over the guarantees of Russian investments in the republic,” Lazar said. “Russia has questions how the Moldovagaz joint venture will operate,” he said. In this respect, Moldova decided to specify all aspects of future cooperation in an intergovernmental agreement,” the deputy prime minister noted. “At the same time Moldovagaz and Gazprom will continue negotiations on a new contract for gas supplies in Moldova,” he pointed out.
The Moldovan vice-premier believes it necessary to settle the problem of gas supplies in the self-proclaimed Dniester Republic. “The situation, when the Dniester region consumes gas, but Moldovagaz is accruing the debts, does not suit us,” he said, noting that Tiraspoltransgaz, a Dniester operator, should sign a separate contract with Gazprom. Meanwhile, he considers it necessary to exclude the Dniester part from Moldova’s overall gas debt. With due account of historical debts and penalty sanctions the gas debt of the Dniester region is estimated at about two billion dollars, Moldovagaz noted. This situation emerged, because Tiraspoltransgaz sells gas to its consumers at the price that is 60% lower than the purchase price, he said. “The debt is growing each quarter that does not make it possible to pay for the gas in full,” Moldovagaz chairman Alexander Gusev stated.
The contract for Russian gas supplies in Moldova expired in December 2011 and was extended in late June 2012. In the second quarter of this year the gas price for the republic was reduced from 400 to 385 dollars for 1,000 cubic metres. The Moldovan government is seeking for further decline in the gas price and is interested to increase the gas transit tariff in Moldova as a compensation.
Gazprom (50%), Moldova (35.3%), the Dniester region (13.44%) and minority stockholders (1.23%) are the largest stockholders of Moldovagaz.