The Moldovan government considers Gazprom’s letter, in which the company warned it about a possible halt in gas supplies due to the failure to pay for them under the contractual terms, as an "unfriendly move." The country’s Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita said this on Friday when commenting on parliament’s decision to introduce a state of emergency in the energy sector in order to pay off the $25 mln debt for the January supplies, TASS reports.
"Gazprom is a big, serious company, so they could have delayed the payment of this $25 million for 10 days, for a month. In our opinion, with minimal willingness to cooperate, it was possible to find a commercial solution. We take it as an unfriendly move. At least this letter that we received stated very clearly that if the payments were not made before the 20th [of January], then on the 21st, at 9 a.m., the deliveries would be stopped," Gavrilita said.
She did not rule out an increase in gas tariffs due to the fact that its purchase price remains high, but assured that the government would allocate funds to compensate it to citizens.
"We have several scenarios, and we will act depending on how much the tariff increases. We will do everything so that citizens do not feel a new increase in tariffs," Gavrilita said.
On Thursday, the Moldovan government introduced a state of emergency in the country for a period of 60 days after Gazprom notified Chisinau that it would suspend gas supplies from January 21, if the Moldovan side did not fulfill its financial obligations. By evening, the press service of the Moldovagaz gas distribution company announced that the debt for current supplies had been paid off.
Earlier this month, Moldovagaz Executive Board Chairman Vadim Cheban said that the company would not be able to square accounts with Gazprom for the current gas consumption in January and avoid the suspension of gas supplies. He pinned the financial difficulties on the tariffs, as they were not keeping up with the increased price of imported gas in January.
The price of Russian gas for Moldova in January has climbed from $550 to $647 per 1,000 cubic meters. The approved tariff rate is $430.
On Friday, Moldovagaz asked the National Energy Regulatory Agency for permission to increase domestic tariffs for gas purchased from Gazprom by 45%. The tariff will be raised from 9,227 to 13,418 lei per 1,000 cubic meters (from $511 to $743). The agency approved the new final tariff for natural gas at regulated prices at an open meeting.