BAKU, Azerbaijan, February 5. Moldova sees Azerbaijan among priority sources to cover its gas needs, Deputy Prime Minister, Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development, Moldova Andrei Spinu said in an exclusive interview with Trend.
“Moldova is consuming ca. 3 bcm of gas per year. It is not a big number, but when you compare it with population of Moldova (2,5 million) it is substantial. Even with such a not huge amount of gas we should introduce and keep diversification rules. That is why Moldovan plan is to establish long term supply relations with three or even four different suppliers. We cannot afford anymore to be under full dependency of one supplier as it was for last decades, and which resulted in various problems with supplies since 2021. That is why when we plan our future structure of supplies, we are focusing on receiving about 30-40 percent of our gas needs from each single supplier. And one of them would be of course Azerbaijan,” said the deputy PM.
Infrastructure to get access to Azerbaijani gas
Spinu pointed out that the infrastructure is already in place and the same with regulations.
“I want to underline that it was Moldovan state-controlled company ENERGOCOM JSC which for the first time in history made the Trans Balkan gas pipeline working towards opposite direction – from south to north. For the whole December of 2022 ENERGOCOM Branch in Romania has bought at Virtual Trading Point on Trans Adriatic Pipeline ca. 130 mcm of natural gas, and then shipped via Interconnector Greece – Bulgaria, Bulgarian gas network to Trans Balkan gas pipeline and then further to the north via Romania gas network to Moldova and even to Ukrainian Gas Storages,” he explained.
The minister pointed out that it was Moldovan Company which proves for the first time in history that supplying gas from South East Europe through East Balkans to the north – to Moldova, Ukraine and even to Central Europe is not only possible but also profitable and feasible.
“So that also proves that the gas network system in the East Balkans is already ready for receiving gas from Azerbaijan - as soon as it reaches the Trans Adriatic Pipeline, it can be transported to the north. The route is ready and open also for Azerbaijani gas,” added Spinu.
Talking about the meeting of the Southern Gas Corridor Advisory Council, he noted that Moldova government delegation to the meeting was focused on promoting long term partnership relationships with countries involved in the Corridor.
“Dramatic situation on energy market in 2022 and on, makes us all in Europe aware of how important is diversification of routes and origins of sources of energy supplies. For many years Europe was focused on supplying energy from two, sometimes three hydrocarbon-rich countries. But last year showed that still the situation is not safe enough. Last year showed how sensitive and vulnerable energy market in Europe is. Europe has to do his homework and increase cooperation with other major energy players. Caspian and Black Sea Region countries are the closest, but for many years were underestimated. Now it is changing very rapidly. That is why in our opinion we should put much more of our efforts and activity towards Caspian Region to establish finally long-term partnership with countries like Azerbaijan or Türkiye which are not only reliable partners but are also able to contribute to restore stability on energy market. Only partnership relations between countries can create a stable and secure conditions for growing of our economies,” added the minister.
Andrei Spinu noted that the role of SGC is crucial for Europe, and especially for South and South Eastern part of Europe.
“After 2022 we are all pretty aware that there is immediate necessity to bring to European market one more direction of supplies. Apart of LNG, Norwegian and North African direction there should be one more hydrocarbons stream from South East. That is why Azerbaijan with its enormous production and Türkiye with its key role in transportation of hydrocarbons by pipelines but also by oil and LNG vessels, should become new important energy partners for Europe,” he noted.
Cooperation in renewable energy sphere
He recalled that on December 17, 2022, was signed the Agreement on the Strategic Partnership for the development and transport of green energy between the Governments of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Romania and Hungary, which foresees the realization of the submarine cable project (through the Black Sea) for the transport of electricity, with a capacity of about 1000 MW.
“Thus, it is an opportunity for the Republic of Moldova to initiate discussions regarding accessing the transport capacities that will be available following the implementation of this project, in order to facilitate the agreement of long-term contracts regarding the purchase of electricity produced from renewable sources, at competitive prices and its transport to the Republic of Moldova, to diversify sources and increase the security of the country's energy supply. To increase local production, diversify the sources of electricity supply and to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions in the energy sector, Republic of Moldova needs more investments in new renewable energy sources and in additional other components in order to contribute to the stability and flexibility of the power system. Which creates more opportunities for foreign investors, including private investors from Azerbaijan,” added Anrei Spinu.
In this context, he pointed out that by Government Decision no. 401/2021, the Republic of Moldova has already committed to support the construction of 410 MW of new RES capacities, focusing on wind, solar and non-variable RES (biomass, biogas and small hydropower plants), but, since the Republic of Moldova does not have other sources primary energy, the additional development of RES will be analyzed.
“The Government of the Republic of Moldova will make efforts to stimulate investments in RES by organizing auctions as soon as possible, and the income of RES producers will increase with the help of the income from the guarantees of origin. Emphasis will be placed on accelerating the planning and authorization phases of the SRE facility to remedy historical bottlenecks that are already visible, and all these activities should be carried out in parallel with the implementation of the legislative requirements of the European Union,” Spinu concluded.
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