Sergiu Tofilat: Iasi-Chisinau gas pipeline does not solve problem of dependence on Russian gas

To diminish Moldova’s dependence on Russian gas, there should be an alternative source from which Moldova can buy gas and take it to all consumers in the country. The Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline does not solve this problem because the gas that will be supplied through this pipe will ensure consumption in the western dustiest of the country, in Chisinau and partially in the northern part of the country. Respectively, the south of the country remains uncovered, energy security expert Sergiu Tofilat, president of the WatchDog Community, stated in the public debate “Gas pipeline between politics, economy and chance to live better”, which was staged by IPN News Agency.

According to the expert, to supply the whole country with gas, the solution is to bring gas by reverse flow through the Trans-Balkan pipeline or, eventually, additional investments should be made to interconnect the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau pipeline with the gas distribution network in southern Moldova. “It is easier to use the revers flow regime. The technical solution is to build the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau interconnection. It does not fully solve the dependence on the Russian monopolist supplier and the problem of ensuring the whole gas consumption in the country,” stated Sergiu Tofilat.

The consumption of electrical energy consumption is the second problem that remains unsolved in the unilateral dependence on Russian gas. “If Russian gas does not reach the Moldovan Thermoelectric Plant on the left side of the Nistru tomorrow, this will stop or will use alternative fuel that is more expensive. Respectively, the price of electricity will grow. If the Kuchurgan Plant stops work, the Republic of Moldova will be unable to import energy from Ukraine and will remain without electricity.”

According to the expert, it is important now to finalize the energy interconnection with Romania, the Chisinau-Vulcănești line, with two back-to-back stations, so that if the supply of gas is stopped, Moldova could at least import electrical energy. Russia’s objective is to make Moldova dependent and to maintain the separatist regime in Tiraspol by supplying gas to this free, by burdening Moldova by debts so that the Kremlin could influence the geopolitical agenda of the Republic of Moldova and the country’s development course.

The expert also said that the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline is partially an economic project, but it is first of all a security project. The existence of this is important if there is the risk of a halt in the supply of gas and Moldova would remain without gas and without electrical energy. The Moldovan authorities’ objective is to make sure the consumers pay less for gas even if there are a number of financial advantages if purchasing gas from the Russian Federation rather than from the EU.

In another development, Sergiu Tofilat said the Third Energy Project was devised by the EU with the aim of reducing the monopolist position of a supplier or another. “Under the Third Energy Project, those that own gas infrastructure are obliged to offer this infrastructure to any supplier that wants to sell gas. In this case, Moldova Transgaz, which was founded by Moldova Gaz, which, for its part, was founded by Gazprom and the Government of Moldova, owns the transmission networks and is obliged to offer it to any supplier in Moldova or in Europe that would want to sell gas on Moldova’s territory or would want to transport gas through the pipeline of the Republic of Moldova.”

In Bulgaria, Romania and other countries, the transmission system operators organize tender contests for contracting capacities. If Moldova needs to transport gas from Turkey to terminals of gas, liquefied gas, compressed gas, it should use the gas pipelines of Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine to bring the gas to Moldova. “This is the mechanism and we should tend to this and organizer tender contests for contracting capacities,” stated Sergiu Tofilat.

The public debate “Gas pipeline between politics, economy and chance to live better” was the 153rd installment of the series “Developing political culture through political debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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