Russia loses operational control over Moldova's gas transmission system
Photo: Moldovatransgaz

Russia’s Gazprom on Tuesday lost operational control over Moldova’s gas transmission system, Moldovatransgaz, a subsidiary of Moldovagaz, half of which is owned by Gazprom, said.

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The loss of operational control is part unbundling, or the separation of gas transmission and distribution, which is regulated by the European Union’s  Energy Community Treaty, given Molvoda’s aspirations to join the bloc.

In June, Moldovagaz announced that it was not in time to complete the certification process and separate Moldovatransgaz from the parent company.

Chisinau then decided to transfer Moldovatransgaz’s assets to another company— Romanian Vestmoldtransgaz, which leased the gas transmission system from Moldovatransgaz for a five-year period.

Under the terms of the contract, the lessee received valid maintenance contracts, which ensures the continuity of operational processes related to the natural gas transmission infrastructure.

Earlier this week, the Moldovan energy watchdog, NERC, approved the contract and revoked Moldovatransgaz’s gas transmission licence. Therefore, Vestmoldtransgaz took over the management and proper operation of Moldova’s gas transmission infrastructure.

Vestmoldtransgaz, established by the Moldovan government in 2014, already operates the Iasi – Ungheni – Chisinau gas pipeline connecting the country with Romania.

Now, it has been given another 1,560 kilometres of the network of main gas pipelines and branch pipelines in Moldova.

Until 2022, Moldova had been completely dependent on Russian gas imported from north to south via Ukraine.

After Gazprom began to reduce supplies, Chisinau began to explore alternative routes, including reverse flows through the Trans-Balkan pipeline.

Last December, Moldova imported physical volumes of natural gas from south to north via the Trans-Balkan corridor through Bulgaria, Romania and Ukraine for the first time in its history.

In 2023, Moldova declared that it had become independent of Russian gas.