Sergiu Tofilat: We must insist that Russian gas should get to Moldova via Ukraine

“I would not call the discussions with Gazprom negotiations. To be able to negotiate, one should have alternatives to the supply of gas. The Republic of Moldova is in a rather difficult situation and it is impossible to solve the problem of the supply of gas and to create instruments for negotiating with Gazprom on the last 100 meters. The questions here should be first of all put to the previous government that should have thought about this a year ago or much earlier,” expert in energy security Sergiu Tofilat, vice president of the Party of Change, stated in IPN’s public debate “What is the government’s optimism about energy crisis based on?”.

Sergiu Tofilat said that credible sources told him that in April Moldovagaz tried to form gas reserves in the underground stores in Ukraine. “About 50 million cubic mergers of gas were allegedly accumulated in the underground stores as we must form reserves when the gas is cheap and get ready for winter. But Gazprom presumably learned about this and obliged Moldovagaz to supply the gas back. It was a scenario planned by Gazprom as the contract expired in September,” he stated, noting that the goal was to have blackmail tools for the scenario when the elections were won by a party that is was not docile to Russia.

According to the expert, Russia’s energy strategy provides that the renewable sources of energy are a risk to the country’s energy security. Russia wants to further extract oil, gas and not to reduce the volumes. Energy blackmail is used to grow Europe’s dependence on Russian gas.

Sergiu Tofilat noted that the contract for the transportation of Russian gas via Ukraine between Russia and Ukraine expired in 2019 and a number of states that depended on gas supplied through the Trans-Balkan pipeline realized that they could remain without gas. “Then, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine during half a year performed works to modernize the Trans-Balkan pipeline so that gas is supplied from the south to the norm and inversely. Starting with 2020, the Republic of Moldova has been in a better situation as regards the supply of gas. We now can receive gas in reverse regime through the Trans-Balkan pipeline,” he said, noting there is also the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau gas pipeline that he cannot understand if this was certified; a number of power plants in the EU switched over from gas to coal, while “Termolectrica” in Chisinau switched over to crude oil, using the state reserves.

The expert said Moldova should have alternative sources of gas and should say that it can do without the Russian gas. “The Kremlin administration didn’t realize that the citizens in the Republic of Moldova have critical thinking and cannot be manipulated. The current government in Chisinau should tell the citizens what they can win and what they can lose, what Gazprom wants from us, why the Republic of Moldova behaves like this. Moscow will insist that Moldova should supply gas to the Transnistrian region. Gazprom will probably insist that the supplies should not go through Ukraine, but through TurkStream. We must insist that the gas should be transported via Ukraine,” concluded Sergiu Tofilat.  

The public debate entitled “What is the government’s optimism about energy crisis based on?” is the 209th installment of the series of debates held by IPN News Agency in the framework of the project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.

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