Chisinau is inconsistent in its gas talks with Gazprom — expert

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Economic expert Viorel Gyrbu believes that Moldova's problems in negotiations with Gazprom are related to politics

CHISINAU, October 27. /TASS/. The Moldovan government is inconsistent and incompetent in holding talks on gas contracts, economic expert Viorel Gyrbu said in an interview with the Moldovan TV channel N-4 on Wednesday, commenting on the government's decision to buy gas from Poland and the Netherlands at a higher price than from the Russian gas holding Gazprom.

“They are holding talks with Russia incompetently. Their main argument is that we are poor, so you should sell us gas at the limit of our purchasing power. At the same time, we make very expensive purchases, even luxurious ones,” Gyrbu said.

As an example, he mentioned the recent statement of Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilitsa, who admitted that Moldova had bought 1 mln cubic meters of gas from Poland at a price of $1,000 per 1,000 cubic meters, which is twice as expensive as the price offered by the Russian company.

Gyrbu believes that Moldova's problems in negotiations with Gazprom are related to politics. “I fear that we are involved in a more complex game, we do not control, and that we are led by various political currents that pass through the region. We allow ourselves to participate in geopolitical games, and this is a risk,” the expert said.

Difficult talks

Moldovan Deputy Prime Ministers Andrey Spinu and Vladislav Kulminsky held negotiations with Gazprom last week on a new, long-term deal but came up empty. They will continue on Wednesday. Spinu arrived in St. Petersburg to meet with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller.

The Russian gas giant is asking Moldova to pay off its $709-mln debt. Chisinau was offered an option to defer payment of what it owes. Gazprom is also ready to provide a 25% discount on gas, but Moldova is not yet ready to take advantage of this.

During the negotiations, the parties extended the current gas supply agreement until the end of October. This month, Moldova is importing gas at a market price of about $790 per 1,000 cubic meters. Chisinau is seeking to lower the cost of gas to an average of $200-300 per 1,000 cubic meters. Last year, the country paid an average of $148 for the same volume. Gazprom is ready to prolong the contract for November if Moldova pays in full for the September and October supplies. At present, some of Moldova’s enterprises have switched to fuel oil, and a state of emergency has been introduced in the country. The former Soviet state has begun to look for alternative gas suppliers.

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