MOSCOW, October 29. /TASS/. Gazprom is open to further talks that will lead to mutually acceptable solutions with Moldova on gas supplies, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Friday.
When asked to comment on the gas talks between Russia and Moldova, the Kremlin official said:
"So far, the de facto situation is that they failed to reach an agreement. Moldova has a debt to Gazprom, the debt is quite serious, it is growing. There is a question related to this debt, the question of a new contract. There is a seller, there is a buyer. The terms of the contract must be agreed, if opinions do not coincide, then nothing can be done. But, of course, Gazprom is open for further contacts and a search for mutually acceptable solutions."
The Kremlin spokesman underscored that lack of agreements with Moldova on gas supplies does not in any way affect the foreign policy image of Russia and Gazprom.
"We believe that this does not in any way affect the foreign policy image of Russia," he said, answering the relevant question.
The Kremlin spokesman also stressed that the situation around the negotiations with Moldova has nothing to do with the image of Gazprom either, as the company is fulfilling all its obligations.
"The image of Gazprom is great. You all heard and know the statements of European leaders, heads of counterparty companies, that were repeatedly voiced over the past few weeks, that Gazprom is fully fulfilling all its obligations. It has nothing to do with Gazprom’s image, it is a purely commercial issue. Gazprom cannot give gas for free and cannot forgive debts, this is a commercial company," Peskov said.
When asked to comment on reports that Europe is helping Moldova with gas supplies, Peskov noted that Chisinau is buying gas there at a price higher than that which was discussed in negotiations with Russia.
"In this respect, we cannot comment on the actions of the Moldovan side," he added.
Earlier on Friday, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development Andrei Spinu, who heads the delegation of the Moldovan government, said that they would continue negotiations on the terms of a new contract for the supply of Russian gas, which began in St. Petersburg two days ago.
Situation with gas supplies to Moldova
In 2020, Gazprom delivered 3.05 bln cubic meters of gas to Moldova, which is 5.5% more than in 2019 (2.89 bln cubic meters). Currently, Moldova is experiencing a gas shortage, as the contract with Gazprom expired at the end of September. The republic's negotiations on a long-term contract with Gazprom are continuing.
The Russian gas giant is asking Moldova to pay off its $709-mln debt, and Chisinau was offered an option to defer debt payments. Gazprom is also ready to provide a 25% discount on gas, but Moldova is not yet ready to take advantage of this.
During the negotiations, the parties extended the current gas supply agreement until the end of October. This month, Moldova is importing gas at a market price of about $790 per 1,000 cubic meters. Chisinau is seeking to lower the cost of gas to an average of $200-300 per 1,000 cubic meters. Last year, the country paid an average of $148 for the same volume. Gazprom is ready to prolong the contract for November if Moldova pays in full for the September and October supplies. At present, some of Moldova’s enterprises have switched to fuel oil, and a state of emergency has been introduced in the country. The former Soviet state has begun to look for an alternative gas supplier.
Moldova’s annual demand for natural gas is estimated at about 1.3 bln cubic meters, and together with the requirements from Transnistria amount to roughly 2.9 bln cubic meters. The republic buys fuel from Gazprom and transports it through the territory of Ukraine. At present, some of Moldova’s enterprises have switched to fuel oil, and a state of emergency has been introduced in the country. The former Soviet state has begun to look for alternative gas suppliers.