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Moldova Snubs Gazprom's Massive Energy Debt Claim With $8.6 Million Counter

  • An international audit disputed Gazprom's claim, showing significant discrepancies and lack of documentation for parts of the alleged debt.
  • The audit revealed that the Moldovan government can demand compensation for Gazprom's breach of contract in reducing gas deliveries.
  • Moldovan leaders insist their citizens should not be burdened by unsubstantiated debts to Gazprom.

Moldova's energy minister says the government will propose that Moldovagaz, a subsidiary of Gazprom, pay the Russian gas giant $8.6 million to settle a debt that Gazprom says is more than $700 million.

Energy Minister Victor Parlicov said the government would propose paying the $8.6 million, an amount he said was “arrived at following a complex estimate” and after an international audit that disputed Russia’s claim that Moldovagaz owed $709 million.

The audit showed that there was no documentation for some of the debt and another portion of the debt was considered expired because it had accumulated over a long time while not being periodically reconfirmed by Gazprom.

The audit also found that the Moldovan government can demand compensation for Gazprom’s decision in October 2022 to reduce the volumes of natural gas delivered to Moldova in violation of its contract.

The audit conducted by Forensic Risk Alliance of Britain and Wikborg Rein of Norway detailed "significant discrepancies" in the amount allegedly owed to Gazprom, the Moldovan government said in a statement on September 6.

It found that Moldovagaz, which is 50 percent owned by Gazprom and 36.6 percent by the Moldovan government, could insist that most of the alleged $709 million in debt be written off.

"Citizens of the Republic of Moldova should not bear the burden of nonexistent debts to Gazprom," Moldovan Prime Minister Dorin Recean said in the statement.

Moldovan President Maia Sandu was quoted last week as saying that the audit had disproved Gazprom's claim that the Moldovan government owes it hundreds of millions of dollars.

Gazprom said it "categorically disagrees with the Moldovan side's assertions and intends to continue defending its rights by all possible means."

The auditors’ conclusions "cannot in any way affect the amount and validity of the said debt," Gazprom said on Telegram, insisting it was confirmed in "documents regularly signed by Gazprom and Moldovagaz."

Moldova previously received Russian gas through its separatist region of Transdniester and through Ukraine, but Moscow cut deliveries after its invasion of Ukraine.

The audit also found that the Moldovan government can demand compensation for Gazprom’s decision in October 2022 to reduce the volumes of natural gas delivered to Moldova in violation of its contract.

Moldova and Gazprom in October 2021 extended their gas contract by five years after a bitter standoff over a hike in gas prices. At that time, Gazprom and its Moldovan subsidiary said it had accumulated hundreds of millions of dollars in debt that had to be repaid to ensure further stable supplies.

By RFE/RL

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