Sergey Kondratiev, Deputy Head of the Economic Department, commented to Vzglyad.ru on the Russian gas supply to Moldova.
Gazprom discovered the theft by Ukraine of gas going to Moldova. Kyiv and Chisinau do not recognize this. So far, Gazprom is only threatening to reduce pumping through Ukraine. But if the theft continues, it could be a complete halt in transit, as happened during the massive gas crisis of 2009.
According to Sergey Kondratiev, the likelihood that Ukraine will continue to steal Russian gas is very high, because the gas infrastructure of Ukraine could have suffered from the blows, part of the production at the fields in the Kharkiv and Poltava regions could have failed. Many coal facilities were also put out of action. Plus, in past years, Ukraine could buy gas in Europe with a virtual reverse, but this winter this “window” is closed. The occupancy of Ukrainian UGS facilities is also low. Ukraine is probably left with only one option - theft of gas, which it has been realizing.
However, Moldova and Transnistria may suffer most of all, because the calculation for alternative supplies may not be justified. Ukraine could help the Moldovans, because Ukrainian UGS facilities store gas paid for by Moldova. However, Kondratiev believes that Ukraine is unlikely to agree to return it: the energy authorities of Ukraine have repeatedly spoken about the possible forced nationalization of gas reserves in UGS facilities, which belong to foreigners, or a ban on getting them out of storage.
Moldova's only quick option to "survive" is to request emergency assistance from Romania.
“Although we are talking about a small amount of gas - Moldova receives 5 million cubic meters per day, a big question arises here: will Romania be ready to share a scarce resource with Moldova, will the energy balance of Romania itself withstand such assistance?” Sergey Kondratiev says.
“But even if Romania can share a scarce resource, Moldova is unlikely to agree to gas supplies to Transnistria. This may lead to the shutdown of the Pridnestrovskaya GRES. Then Chisinau will need emergency assistance not only for gas, but also for electricity. This is the scenario of a real humanitarian catastrophe for Moldova. Until October, Moldova exported electricity from Ukraine, but now it will be impossible,” the source said.
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