Date: 29 September 2023 Author: Grzegorz Kuczyński

Russia, Moldova Involved in Standoff over Gas Supplies

Moldova’s energy minister says the government will propose that Moldovagaz, a subsidiary of Gazprom, pay the Russian gas giant $8.6 million to settle a debt that Gazprom says is more than $700 million. Moldovan President Maia Sandu said that the audit had disproved Gazprom’s claim that the Moldovan government owes it hundreds of millions of dollars.


Energy Minister Victor Parlicov said the government would propose paying the $8.6 million, an amount he said was “arrived at following a complex estimate” and after an international audit that disputed Russia’s claim that Moldovagaz owed $709 million. The audit showed that there was no documentation for some of the debt and another portion of the debt was considered expired because it had accumulated over a long time while not being periodically reconfirmed by Gazprom. The audit also found that the Moldovan government could demand compensation for Gazprom’s decision in October 2022 to reduce the volumes of natural gas delivered to Moldova in violation of its contract. The audit conducted by Forensic Risk Alliance of Britain and Wikborg Rein of Norway detailed “significant discrepancies” in the amount allegedly owed to Gazprom, the Moldovan government said in a statement on September 6. It found that Moldovagaz, which is 50 percent owned by Gazprom and 36.6 percent by the Moldovan government, could insist that most of the alleged $709 million in debt be written off. Parlicov explained that almost $280 million of the total debt Gazprom claims has not been confirmed by the documentation, while around $400 million of it is unenforceable as the relevant arbitration decisions have expired. The audit report also highlights Gazprom’s own shortfall of around $160 million in gas transit fees collected by Transnistria-based company Tiraspoltransgaz, and not Moldovagaz. Gazprom said it “categorically disagrees with the Moldovan side’s assertions and intends to continue defending its rights by all possible means.” Gazprom’s position was also supported by the Russian foreign ministry. Moldova previously received Russian gas through its separatist region of Transnistria and Ukraine, but Moscow cut deliveries after its invasion of Ukraine. Moldova and Gazprom in October 2021 extended their gas contract by five years after a bitter dispute over a hike in gas prices.

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TAGS: migration crisis, NATO, Belarus, Russia


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