Gavrilita Called the Negotiations with Gazprom Russia’s Cruel Game

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The long negotiations with Gazprom during the gas crisis in Moldova and abnormally high gas prices on the international market were a cruel game on the part of Russia, said the country's Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita. “It was a cruel game on the part of Russia in conditions when Moldova had few alternatives, as well as in the context of abnormally high prices on the international market”, Gavrilita said on Jurnal TV, answering a journalist's question whether the position of the Russian Federation could be considered blackmail, reports Gavrilita stated that she intends to make efforts for the emergence of alternative gas sources. In addition, she hopes that in the future Moldova will be able to adequately negotiate the conclusion or extension of gas contracts. Moldovagaz began negotiations with Gazprom on the conclusion of a new contract for the supply of natural gas last summer, but the discussion dragged on. Until October 1, Moldova purchased it from Gazprom under an agreement that was signed back in 2008. Gas prices, according to the contract, were formed depending on oil prices on world markets. The main obstacles to reaching a new agreement were the disagreements of the parties over the fair price that Moldova wanted to achieve in the new contract, and the debt of Moldovan consumers for previous supplies, which Gazprom wants to return. According to the company, the debts for gas, taking into account the delay, reached $709 million. As a result, Gazprom and Moldovagaz signed a document on September 30 extending for one month from October 1, 2021 the current contract for the supply of Russian gas to Moldova’s consumers. At the same time, the price of supplies increased from $ 200 per thousand cubic meters to $ 790 in accordance with market conditions. Moldovagaz reported on October 6 that gas consumption in the Republic of Moldova temporarily exceeds fuel supplies from the Russian Federation, this may also lead to problems with the supply of electricity. Then, on October 22, the parliament introduced a state of emergency in the country due to the energy crisis, and the republic began holding tenders for gas from alternative suppliers. All this time, Moldova has continued negotiations with Gazprom, being on the verge of completely stopping gas exports from Russia since November. Gazprom and Moldovagaz reached an agreement on October 29, signing a contract for the supply of gas for a period of five years, starting from November 1. According to the Russian company, the parties signed a protocol on the settlement of current issues in the gas sector, and the terms of the extension of the agreement are mutually beneficial. In turn, the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development of the Republic of Moldova reported that the new contract will be based on the formula proposed by the Moldovan side. A day later, Deputy Prime Minister of Moldova Andrei Spinu said that the cost of gas for the republic in November would be approximately $ 450 per thousand cubic meters of gas, and that the parties also agreed to conduct an audit of the debt for gas accumulated by Moldovagaz in 2022.