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Azerbaijan can play important role in getting over energy crisis in Europe – Moldovan deputy PM

Andrei Spinu

Azerbaijan can play an important role in getting over the energy crisis in Europe, Andrei Spinu, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Development of the Republic of Moldova, said in an exclusive interview with Trend.

“President Ilham Aliyev has decisively said in his speech at the opening ceremony of Baku Energy Week that since 1994 when the first contract-PSA contract- was signed with foreign companies until today, not a single word was changed in the contracts. It shows that Azerbaijan is a reliable partner. In the new geopolitical situation Azerbaijan could become a strategic partner not just for Moldova, but for Europe as a whole, providing an alternative route for delivering gas, oil, renewables. I hope this energy crisis will end as soon as possible and I think Azerbaijan can really play an important role in getting over this crisis,” he said.

Spinu believes that Azerbaijan can be one of the strategic partners for Moldova in diversifying the sources of energy.

“We are facing energy crisis all over the world and that affected Europe, including Moldova very much. So, we’re trying to find different sources to supply energy to Moldova. Baku Energy Week is one of the biggest events dedicated to the topic we are interested in and therefore it was mandatory for me to be here. On the first day I met Azerbaijan’s minister of energy Parviz Shahbazov. I also met agriculture minister Inam Karimov, as I am also the co-chairman of the intergovernmental commission from Moldova and Karimov is the co-chairman from Azerbaijan. We discussed organizing the next meeting of the commission. The last one was held 10 years ago, so we think it is time to hold the next meeting. We decided to organize it in early September and start preparations. I also had a meeting with Azerbaijan’s economy minister Mikayil Jabbarov. We had very fruitful discussions about improving our economic ties, commercial relations and investing in projects in Moldova or in Azerbaijan. We are expected to have some concrete results at the meeting in September,” said Moldova’s deputy PM.

He pointed out that Moldova is interested in receiving gas via the Southern Gas Corridor.

“We’re very closely working with Romania and Bulgaria. Bulgaria is already connected to the Southern Gas Corridor, and Romania is also trying to get involved. Of course, we’re looking forward to see how Moldova can take part in this. We’re interested in long-term contracts. We are right now interconnected with Romania, which is interconnected with Bulgaria and the latter is already connected to the Southern Gas Corridor. We also have Trans-Balkan Pipeline, which could also be an option to bring gas to Moldova. I can’t say how much gas is Moldova expecting to get via the Southern Gas Corridor, as there are still discussions going on. Moldova is consuming around 3 billion cubic meters of gas per year. We would like to sign a contract to get gas in a range between 1 and 3 billion cubic meters per year,” Spinu explained.

He went on to add that the energy security situation in Moldova is very complicated right now.

“Moldovagaz, a Russian-Moldovan company controlled by Russia’s Gazprom, has a 5-year contract with Gazprom. Currently, we are getting gas from Gazprom, but there are uncertainties in this regard. The most complicated issue is related to prices, as Moldova is not a rich country. Gas prices are huge for us. Over the last 7-8 months the tariffs for the population grew by 5 times, which is totally unaffordable for most of our population. The inflation in Moldova is around 27-30 percent, which is partly because of the high gas prices and also oil prices which are growing day-by-day on the international market. So, we have a number of objectives: firstly, to assure the security of supplies, secondly, to negotiate prices that could be affordable for countries like Moldova, as we can’t pay for gas at market prices, which are too high,” he added.

Spinu noted that technically, Moldova can get gas from everywhere.

“The main issue is not about how to bring gas, but how to have a contract, which is affordable for the economy, for households in Moldova. We have also speeded up our work on developing renewable energy. Right now, we’re working on modifying the corresponding legislation so that to be attractive for investors. Our plan is next fall to run tenders and of course, we’ll invite also Azerbaijani investors to participate in those tenders,” Moldova’s deputy PM concluded.

About Fidan Abdullayeva