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Moldovan leader arrives in Moscow to hash over gas supplies, bilateral trade

Igor Dodon will meet with Russian deputy PM and Gazprom CEO

CHISINAU, September 2. /TASS/. Moldovan President Igor Dodon has arrived in Moscow for a working visit for talks on trade and economic cooperation as well as on energy issues.

"I am in Moscow for a one-day working visit, which will include meetings with Russian Deputy Prime Minister, Special Presidential Representative for the Development of Trade and Economic Relations with the Republic of Moldova Dmitry Kozak, CEO of [Russian energy giant] Gazprom Alexey Miller and others," he pointed out on Facebook. According to him, "the agenda of the meetings covers a number of issues related to the development of Moldova-Russia trade and economic ties as well as cooperation in the energy industry." The delegation includes Minister of Economy and Infrastructure Vadim Brinzan, presidential aides and Chairman of the Moldovagaz Administrative Council Vadim Cheban.

Need for discount

Earlier, Dodon said in an interview with TASS that he was concerned by a possible halt or reduction of gas supplies via Ukraine and urged the government to launch talks with the Russian Gazprom energy giant to sign a new gas supply contract. He also underlined that he would like to discuss this issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin to obtain the gas discount, which Moldova can be granted as an observer in the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU).

According to Dodon, Moldova needs the discount because the previous cabinet unfoundedly decreased tariffs for political gains, without aligning them to the real prices that Moldova is paying for gas from Gazprom.

Problematic transit

Moldova is also fearing that a possible halt of gas supplies through Ukraine will affect the republic’s transit revenues and that it can also lead to a reduction or a complete termination of Russian gas supplies. According to the president, the Ungheni-Chisinau natural gas pipeline, a project devised to provide an alternative way of supplying gas from neighboring Romania sponsored by the EU, which allocated funds for the previous governments of Moldova, still has not been completed. "But even if it was constructed, it is unclear where to find gas for it. It is also unclear whether Moldova can arrange reverse gas supplies through the Ukrainian national gas transmission system if need be," he said.

Moldova is purchasing gas from Gazprom under the contract signed in 2008, which is extended annually. The contract stipulates that Moldova’s gas prices are linked to the global market rate. During his visit to Moscow in February 2019, Dodon asked CEO of Gazprom Alexey Miller to grant Moldova a 25% discount for the gas supplied to the country. Following the meeting with Miller on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF), the Moldovan leader announced that an agreement was reached to launch negotiations to work out new gas supply conditions to Moldova and its transit starting with January 1, 2020. Last year, Gazprom supplied 2.9 billion cubic meters of gas to Moldova, an 8.4% increase compared to 2017.