Moldova will no longer buy gas from Russia’s Gazprom – energy minister

CHISINAU (Reuters) -Much of Moldova will no longer buy gas from Russian energy giant Gazprom, Moldovan Energy Minister Victor Parlicov said on Monday, referring to parts of the country that capital Chisinau controlled and not breakaway areas.

His comments suggested the country, one of Europe’s poorest, had strengthened its independence from Russian gas. Chisinau-controlled Moldova, which comprises much of the country’s territory and population, stopped buying gas from Gazprom in December 2022. It wasn’t clear at the time how permanent the decision would be.

Parlicov said Moldova had been able to procure gas from European suppliers at a better price than Gazprom offered.

The Kremlin said on Monday that contacts between Moldova and Gazprom are continuing, especially as Moldova owes money. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said relations between Gazprom and Moldova needed sorting out.

Moldova still buys electricity generated in a Transdniestrian power plant using Gazprom’s gas. The minister gave no indication that this would change.

“We will no longer buy natural gas from Gazprom for territory controlled by the (Chisinau) constitutional authorities,” Parlicov told a conference in Bucharest via video link.

State-owned Gazprom still supplies 5.7 million cubic metres of gas a day to Transdniestria, a Russia-backed enclave of Moldova, which violently separated from Chisinau’s rule after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.

Gazprom said it still received daily requests for gas from Moldova’s natural gas distributor Moldovagaz and met them by shipping the fuel via Ukraine.

Gazprom didn’t say if the gas ends up in Transdniestria.

Moldova has repeatedly condemned Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Bilateral ties are also strained by the presence of Russian peacekeeping troops in Transdniestria.

(Reporting by Alexander Tanas, writing by Max Hunder; Editing by Louise Heavens, Bernadette Baum and Sharon Singleton)