Moldova Cannot Pay for Russian Gas, Asks for Deferral

Moldova will not be able to pay for Russian natural gas in August and hopes to have a referral, Chairman of Moldovagaz Ceban announced on Wednesday. Moldova made a five year deal with Gazprom that started on November 1 last year and requires to make pre-payments by the 20th of each month. Moldovagaz is majority owned by Gazprom, with the state of Moldova having a 35.5% stake in the company.

“I can tell you right now that we are unable to pay,” Ceban said.  “We will cover July, but we cannot make the advance payment for August. That is clear.”

Ceban added that he hoped to reach a new deal in the fourth quarter under which it would pay less. Moldova has faced difficulties in payments of gas bills repeatedly over the past year.

He added that the only thing that could help them would be a deferral of this payment until the fourth quarter.

Moldova’s Deputy Prime Minister Spinu said last week that Moldovagaz had requested deferred payment for August, but had yet to receive a reply.

Gazprom has warned Moldovagaz twice in the past year that it could halt supplies over payment delays.

Ceban said they have been able to collect $14 million for July payment, and the invoice for August is $18 million.

“I don’t see how we can request an increase in the tariff for consumers. In this situation … the only thing that can help us at the moment is a respite and a postponement of the payment,” Ceban added.

Ceban also said that he appealed to the Moldovan government to postpone VAT payments.

Previously, Moldovagaz requested a rise in the tariff to 29.48 lei (€1.5) per cubic meter of gas, citing the fact that in August, the purchase price for gas was $1,458 per thousand cubic meters, and in September it could reach $1,692.

On August 4, the National Energy Regulatory Agency, ANRE, approved a smaller price rise for consumers from 18.62 lei to 23 lei (€1.2) per cubic meter.

Gazprom has previously warned that it will not make concessions to Moldova, and that if the payment deadline is not respected, it will stop deliveries within 48 hours.

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