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Maia Sandu: Not availability of gas but its price will be a problem

The Republic of Moldova is bracing for all the scenarios related to an eventual large-scale energy crisis, said President Maia Sandu. According to the official, the Government is looking for alternative solutions to pass winter well while the citizens should be ready to economize. The Executive will provide subsidies through bills, as it did last year, but the Government’s capacity to help the people is influenced by the price of gas. The higher is the price, the smaller will be the state support for the people, IPN reports.

President Sandu said there is a dialogue between the Moldovan authorities and representatives of the Russian gas company Gazprom, but the uncertainty about the supply of natural gas remains large. The official made it clear that Russia tried to impose its political agenda in the negotiations on the contract with Moldovagaz, but the Moldovan delegation refused to have any discussion that didn’t refer to the commercial aspects of the contract.

“We must get ready for any scenario. I think not the availability of gas but its price will be the biggest problem. The Government does its best to ensure there is natural gas or other sources for heating. The citizens should also do what they can to economize where they can so that we pay less. It’s clear that Russia does not offer a price lower than the market price for nothing. We refused to discuss other problems in the negotiations on the gas supply contract. Yes, the Russian Federation tried to raise other issues in the discussions on the gas contract but we told them that these problems should be addressed separately. It is fair to negotiate the price of gas in the form of a commercial contract. If the market price hadn’t been so high, the price stipulated in the contract would have been different as this price represents a particular percentage of the market price,” Maia Sandu stated in the talk show “In Depth” on ProTV Chișinău channel.

The official said the state is making reserves of crude oil so as to switch the centralized heating system in Chisinau over to this alternative heating source. If Gazprom reduces the natural gas supplies or halts them, Energocom will purchase gas at the market price.

“Energocom could intervene and buy gas if Moldovagaz is unable to fulfill its duties. The Government will intervene within its possibilities to help the citizens, business entities, but its capacity is limited and depends on the price. The Government is also considering solutions for replacing gas consumption, for the centralized heating system. In some of the localities, wood and coal will be used for heating. However, we will have a minimum of natural gas so that those who cannot use alternative sources could receive the necessary gas,” stated President Sandu.

In September, Moldova pays US$1,883 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas, up US$400 on August. Consumers now pay a gas rate of 22.99 lei with VAT included and Moldovagaz intends to ask again the National Agency for Energy Regulation to review the rate up.

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