Marcel Salikhov, President of the Institute for Energy and Finance, commented on whether Moldova can refuse Russian gas, to the BBC Russian service.
Moldova could be left without Russian gas on the eve of winter: Russian "Gazprom" threatened Chisinau to stop supplies if the country does not pay off its debts and does not sign a new contract from December 1. According to analysts, about 60% of gas consumption in the country falls on the residential sector. The country's authorities decided for the first time in history to buy gas from outside Russia and signed a trial contract with a Polish supplier.
An alternative to Russian gas
“Over 60% of gas consumption in Moldova falls on the residential sector. Therefore, the cessation of gas supplies during the heating season means huge problems with heat supply in residential buildings,” - Marcel Salikhov says, - “Moldovagaz currently has about 732 thousands of consumers in the residential sector. That is, about 81% of Moldovan households are connected to gas and depend on gas supplies".
According to Marcel Salikhov, Ukraine and Romania are not yet able to fully meet their gas needs, and Poland has allocated too little volume for its neighbor.
Politics or Economics?
"Ukraine itself is experiencing significant difficulties with the purchase of gas and does not have additional volumes. Romania also does not have free gas for Moldova. Back in 2014, the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline was put into operation, which provides the technical possibility of supplying from Romania to Moldova. However, it is not actually used and supplies are not carried out," he says.
A tough gas conflict is not beneficial to either Russia or Moldova, Marcel Salikhov is sure.
“Moldova has no real alternatives to Russian gas, and for Gazprom, the termination of supplies to Moldova will mean the termination of supplies to Transnistria, which is most likely an unacceptable scenario for political reasons. I think the most likely scenario is the conclusion of a long-term contract with a link to prices on European hubs and providing a discount to this price," the expert says.
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