Gazprom and the Moldovan government are discussing a draft agreement on the settlement of natural gas debt which is approaching $8 billion while taking into account the debt of the Transnistrian region.
Chairman of Moldovagaz Board Vadim Ceban announced this while speaking during the hearings in the parliamentary commission for the control of public finances. According to the information he provided, currently the debts of the right bank of the Dniester for gas amount to about $715 million, including penalties, and this debt was mainly formed by the enterprises of the heat and power complex. According to him, a draft agreement has been developed between the shareholders of Moldovagaz - Gazprom and the government of Moldova, and the enterprises Thermoelectrica and TETs-Nord will be able to pay off debts in a very short time. At the same time, the gas debt of the left bank of the Dniester is almost $6.8 billion and is attributed to Tiraspoltransgaz LLC. Vadim Ceban said that there is a draft agreement between shareholders, which proposes a solution to the problem of the corresponding debt, but this issue cannot be resolved in the absence of a plenipotentiary government in Moldova, which should directly discuss the procedure for repayment and settlement of the debt. Vadim Ceban does not exclude that there may be many comments to the document developed by Gazprom, but stressed that this is a discussion platform at the level of shareholders. “We are ready to provide all the necessary support to resolve this issue. It is difficult to find a solution to this issue without the participation of Gazprom and the Transnistrian administration. A lot will depend, among other things, on how the Transnistrian conflict will be settled,” stressed the Chairman of the Board of Moldovagaz. According to him, Gazprom does not refuse to negotiate on this topic and is ready to discuss it. Vadim Ceban said that he considers the debt for Russian gas to be a corporate debt of Moldovagaz to Gazprom, and not a state debt of Moldova, while in fact the matter mainly concerns the debt of Tiraspoltransgaz for gas supplies to the region by Moldovagaz, which is confirmed by documents. At the same time, Moldovagaz has orders of execution to recover from Tiraspoltransgaz a debt for gas totaling over $5 billion, but these decisions of the Moldovan courts cannot be enforced on the territory of Transnistria. And in this situation, the resolution of the problem lies in the plane of relations between the shareholders of Moldovagaz in the person of Gazprom and the government of Moldova, and discussions on this issue are underway. During the hearings, Denis Tumuruc, Deputy Head of the Energy Policy Department of the Ministry of Economy and Infrastructure, noted that by signing an agreement on a mechanism for settling the debt for natural gas, Gazprom stipulates the completion of the process of separating the operator of the natural gas transmission system Moldovatransgaz from Moldovagaz and its certification as this is required by the Third European Energy Package signed by Moldova. At the same time, one of the directors of the National Energy Regulatory Agency, Stefan Creangă, criticized the draft agreement proposed by the Russian gas holding. Without going into details, he noted that this document is disadvantageous for Moldova, as it puts it in a disadvantageous position and can become a trap if the country follows it. The ANRE director also said that at a closed government meeting on March 25, Aureliu Ciocoi, Acting Prime Minister, said that he would not sign such an agreement, since the government cannot assume the debt for gas. Stefan Creanga also called it incorrect to link the issue of separating Moldovatransgaz from Moldovagaz for the implementation of the Third Energy Package with the mechanism for settling the debt for gas, and this cannot be taken as a condition for the separation of the company. In his opinion, ANRE can, if necessary, apply financial sanctions to Gazprom, as the main shareholder of Moldovagaz. // 14.04.2021 – InfoMarket