Commission for Exceptional Situations convened, state of emergency to be declared

Given the risk to the country’s and citizens’ energy security, the Commission for Exceptional Situations comes together for an emergency meeting today. The taken decisions will be made known after the Cabinet meeting that starts at 3pm. The Premier will propose Parliament to declare a state of emergency in the energy sector and tomorrow will go to Parliament to ask for this, IPN reports.

In a press briefing, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilița said the Russian gas giant Gazprom sent an official letter to Moldovagaz by which it informed about its intention to halt gas supplies to Moldova if the payments are not made fully by January 20. The sum that Moldovagaz must pay until tomorrow is US$63 million, while the company collected only US$38 million.

If Parliament declares a state of emergency, the Commission for Exceptional Situations will be convened tomorrow against to adopt a number of measures, like the postponement of the payment of VAT by Moldovagaz to the state and the payment by the Government of the subsidies for gas for January and February to the supplier in advance.

Natalia Gavrilița said Moldovagaz, of which Gazprom is a majority shareholder, failed to identify solutions to fully pay for the consumed gas on time. Gazprom, instead of coming up with measures for the joint stock company it controls to be able to fulfill its contractual obligations, threats to leave the consumers without natural gas.

The previous years, Gazprom allowed Moldovagaz to accumulate negative deviations in winter and to pay the next months. Now that the gas prices are abnormally high, the company does not accept such practices even if the terms of the contract remained the same, noted the Premier.

Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spînu, Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development, said the Government honored each of the points stipulated in the protocol signed with Gazprom in St. Petersburg. “The current situation is not a consequence of the Government’s inaction, but is a result of the commercial relations between Moldovagaz and Gazprom,” stated the official.

In accordance with the contract, Moldovagaz was to fully pay for the gas consumed in December by January 20. On January 14, this obligation was fulfilled. Furthermore, by January 20 Moldovagaz was to pay a 50% advance for January, of about US$63 million, but the company has only US$38 million now.

According to Andrei Spînu, the difference that couldn’t be paid by January 20 appeared for a number of reasons, first of all because the purchase price of gas grew considerably and cannot be covered by the current gas rate paid by end users. In January, the purchase price of gas is US$667 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas.

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