The Chisinau authorities said they could buy electricity from Ukraine and gas on the open market to end Moldova’s current dependence on Russian energy supplies.

Moldova Makes Plans to Escape Russian Energy Dependence

The headquarters of Russian gas company Gazprom in Moscow, January 2009. Photo: EPA-EFE/Sergei Ilnitsky

Moldova could buy electricity from Ukraine and gas on the open market after May 1, when its gas contract with Gazprom could be terminated and its electricity deal with the MoldGres power plant in the separatist region of Transnistria will expire.

Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Development Andrei Spinu told in a press conference on Wednesday that Moldova could possibly buy electricity from Ukraine from next month and natural gas from the open market through Dutch and Polish companies.

“Freedom and energy independence come at a cost for us, and after the start of the war in Ukraine, we have no choice but to pay this cost of independence,” said Spinu.

Moldova is 100 per cent dependent on Russian gas and on large amounts of electricity supplied via its breakaway region of Transnistria.

Moldova’s current electricity supply contract is with a company called Moldgres, owned by Russian giant Inter RAO and based in Transnistria. It expires on May 1.

Its current contact for gas supplies is with another Russian giant, Gazprom.

There is also the possibility that Gazprom could cancel this contract over a dispute over an alleged debt of $709 million that the Russian company claims Moldova-base gas company Moldovagaz owes.

Moldova believes the debt is exaggerated and wants to carry out a financial audit of Moldovagaz, but Gazprom has been blocking this.

Moldovagaz is a subsidiary of Gazprom in which the Russian concern controls the majority stake of about 63 per cent, while the Moldovan Economy Ministry owns 35 per cent.

Spinu said that Moldova is now preparing to buy electricity via state company Energocom “due to the exceptional situation in the energy market” and is awaiting offers soon.

He said that MoldGres is only offering 70 per cent of what Moldova needs, and argued that Ukrainian producers could replace the entire amount of energy purchased from MoldGres, or supply even more, and at a lower price than the $76 per MWh demanded by the Russian company.

“The price on the Ukrainian electricity market was $63.5 per MWh, lower than that proposed by Moldgres. We are continuing talks with our Ukrainian partners. By Friday, we hope to have more answers,” he added.

Spinu insisted that Moldova would not run out of natural gas, even if Gazprom decides to stop deliveries after May 1.

“Procurement tenders have been announced. Seven traders, including from Poland and the Netherlands, have already submitted their bids to deliver gas to Moldova,” he said.

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