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Tiraspol can consume only amount of gas supplied by Moldovagaz

With an industry and a heating system that are considerably dependent on gas, the separatist Transnistrian region can only optimize gas consumption now that the Russian company Gazprom offers to Moldova only 51% of the amount of gas stipulated in the contract. Tiraspol can consume only the amount of gas supplied to it by Moldovagaz, which is the only distributor of the gas bought from Gazprom. All attempts to sign a direct contract with the Russian supplier failed so far, IPN reports, with reference to RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service.

Even if a part of the pipes that transport natural gas to Moldova go through the Transnistrian region, eventual direct gas delivery is practically impossible, said the minister of economy of the region Sergey Obolonik. In a news conference recently, he explained that Transnistria cannot take gas from the pipe by itself as it is not a party to the contract signed with Gazprom.

Vladimir Yastrebchak, former chief negotiator on behalf of Tiraspol, in an interview with RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service said the Transnistrian region does not take gas arbitrarily, even if it has such an option, also for other reasons. “One of the reasons is that in such a case, Moldovagaz can refuse to supply gas from Gazprom, while Ukraine can refuse to transit the gas,” stated Yastrebchak.

“Moldovagaz will not have another instrument to stop an eventual unauthorized extraction of gas by Transnistria than to terminate the contract with Gazprom. This would mean a collapse for the Transnistrian region,” energy expert Sergiu Tofilat stated for RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service in a comment.

Energy expert Victor Parlicov, former director of the National Agency for Energy Regulation, explained that the Russian gas is supplied by separate ways to the two banks of the Nistru. The right bank receives gas through the transmission networks going through the north of Moldova, while the left bank – through the networks going through the southern districts. Consequently, the Transnistrian region cannot abusively take gas from the amounts intended for the right bank. “At the same time, until 2020, before the Turkish Stream stated to be used, significant volumes of gas were transited through Moldova, including via the Transnistrian region. Now Gazprom supplies gas to the Balkans through the Turkish Stream. Respectively, practically no gas is delivered through the Trans-Balkan pipeline,” stated Victor Parlicov.

The so-called minister of economy of the region Sergey Obolonik noted it is for the first time that the region is short of natural gas as the supplied amounts cannot cover the social needs at least and Transnistria is close to a humanitarian catastrophe. In reply, the head of Moldovagaz Vadim Ceban said the supplied amount of gas is enough to satisfy the social needs, including the production of electricity for the left bank. For his part, Ceban reproached the Transnistrian administration for not paying for the consumed gas and for accumulating debts to Moldovagaz.

Of the 5.7 million cubic meters of gas supplied by Gazprom, 2.3 million cubic meters go to the Transnistrian region, down 1.6 million cubic meters on October.

RFE/RL’s Moldovan Service notes that Tiraspol does not pay to Gazprom for the consumed gas. The money collected as payments for consumption is accumulated in a special fund managed by the Transnistrian administration, which is used to pay pensions and salaries, while the debt amassed by the region is made the responsibility of the Moldovan company Moldovagaz.

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