Russia’s state-owned gas company, Gazprom, accused Ukraine of withholding natural gas supplies for Moldova, in a statement on Twitter published yesterday. In addition, the company stated that it will start reducing supplies to Moldova on 28 November, should this continue. However, the Gas TSO of Ukraine has denied these accusations amid a deteriorating energy situation in both Ukraine and Moldova.
Publishing a statement shortly after Gazprom’s Twitter post, GTSOU stated: “All the volumes of natural gas that were accepted from the Russian Federation at the entry point ‘Sudzha’ for further transportation to Moldovan consumers were transferred to the exit points ‘Oleksiivka’ and ‘Grebenyky’ from Ukraine to Moldova in full amount. This is confirmed by Transfer and Acceptance Acts signed with related operators, one of which is Gazprom itself.”
In addition, the Gas TSO of Ukraine stated that Gazprom’s threats to reduce gas supply to Moldova are an attempt to deprive the country of an ‘opportunity’ to use the Ukrainian gas transmission system (GTS) and its underground gas storage facilities (UGS), blocking virtual reverse, and consequently increasing dependence on the Russian natural gas.
In the past few weeks, Moldova‘s energy crisis has deepened which resulted in financial support from both the EU and the United States, as well as new measures from the country’s gas transmission system, Moldovatransgaz.
“This is not the first time Russia has resorted to using gas as an instrument of political pressure. It manipulates facts to justify its decision to limit further the volume of gas supplies to European countries. Gazprom deliberately interprets the introduction of European business rules of operation at interstate interconnection points as a violation of contractual obligations, obviously for political rather than commercial purposes”, said Olga Bielkova, Director of Government and International Affairs at the Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU).
According to GTSOU’s statement, in early September 2022, Moldova introduced a virtual reverse method at the interconnection points with Ukraine. Since late September, the transportation of natural gas from Moldova to Ukraine via the ‘Grebenyky’ interconnection point has been carried out in the form of a virtual reverse. The virtual reverse is a leading commercial method used on the European gas market, which also helps to reduce the negative impact of gas trade on the environment.
Energy Community confirms Ukraine’s response
The Secretariat of the Energy Community confirmed that Gazprom’s claims are ‘unsubstantiated’ and ‘false’. According to the international organisation, Ukraine’s gas transmission system operator is fulfilling its transit obligations.
“The Secretariat refutes such false claims. The Secretariat will continue to support Moldova in diversifying its gas and electricity supplies and praises Moldova’s efforts to purchase non-Russian supplies of gas and store it in neighbouring countries. It is also essential that the international community stands firmly by Moldova. The Energy Rescue Scheme set up by the Secretariat is ready to channel donors’ financial assistance for Moldova to face the harsh winter ahead”, said Artur Lorkowski, Director of the Energy Community Secretariat.