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Moldova Denies The Validity Of Gazprom’s $800 Million Natural Gas Debt Claim

Moldova’s President has said Russia’s Gazprom has no real claim for $800 million in dues for gas deliveries, citing an audit from an unnamed international company.

In a report on the news, Reuters recalled that the dispute dates back to last year when Gazprom demanded that Moldova pay its dues under a gas supply contract that saw the gas delivered but no payments made.

Meanwhile, Moldova switched to other suppliers of gas in the wake of the payment demand, with its energy ministry accusing Gazprom of continuing to deliver gas to the separatist Transnistria region free of charge.

In March, the Moldovan government said it had resumed purchasing natural gas from Gazprom after a three-month pause—and just days after its energy minister claimed it was no longer buying Russian gas—and then, two months later, the government said again it had stopped buying Russian gas altogether.

Also last year, Gazprom said part of gas volumes destined for Moldova were being diverted to Ukraine, and warned if this continued it would begin reducing gas flows through the Ukraine itself.

Moldova is one of the countries overwhelmingly dependent on Russian gas supply that has had to look for alternative suppliers in the wake of Russia’s Ukraine invasion and the EU sanctions that followed.

The alternative supply sources for European buyers include Norway, Azerbaijan, and producers of liquefied natural gas such as the United States and Qatar. The U.S. has so far been the main beneficiary of the European gas shortage as U.S. producers are happier to sell some of their volumes on the spot market than their Qatari counterpart, which insists on long-term deals.

Initially wary of such long-term deals, European buyers, including German utilities, have reconsidered their stance and are now signing up for long-term supply.

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By Charles Kennedy for Oilprice.com

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