The Republic of Moldova steals the gas destined for Transnistria and sells it to Ukraine at the market price, claims the press in Tiraspol, although the authorities in Chisinau are procuring gas from other markets, as Gazprom has limited supplies.
NEWS: “According to some diplomatic sources, the Russian gas received (by the Republic of Moldova) is sold to other markets.
In total, according to some sources, Moldovagaz may have hidden approximately 140 million cubic meters of gas. Since November 1, after the amount of gas delivered to Transnistria was reduced, these volumes may have increased. Part of the stolen gas is stored in warehouses on the territory of Ukraine, as well as in the Iasi-Chisinau gas pipeline.
There is an assumption that Moldovagaz sells gas to Ukraine at market price, violating the provisions of the Moldovan-Russian contract that prohibits re-exports to third countries”.
NARRATIVE: The Republic of Moldova steals natural gas destined for Transnistria and sells it to Ukraine, violating the contract with Gazprom and endangering the lives of the residents (including Russians) of the separatist region.
CONTEXT/LOCAL ETHOS: The Republic of Moldova is facing a complex energy crisis, deepened by the Russian invasion of Ukraine. As it is dependent on imported energy resources and its citizens have the lowest purchasing power in Europe, the Republic of Moldova has been affected by the increase in prices for this category of products both economically and socially. Since the beginning of the year, the price of gasoline has risen by about 30 percent and of diesel by 60 percent, while gas and electricity tariffs have risen several times.
This fall, in addition to high prices, the Republic of Moldova is also facing a shortage of gas and electricity. Starting October 1, Gazprom delivered only 70% of the gas volume stipulated in the contract, and since November it has covered only half. On October 11, Ukraine stopped exporting electricity. Before that, the Republic of Moldova used to import approximately 30% of the energy needed for consumption from that market. On November 1, the Cuciurgan Power Plant, located in the separatist region on the left of the Dniester, but belonging to a Russian company, suspended electricity supplies to the right bank of the Dniester. The plant used to cover 70% of the energy supply needed.
Most of the electricity needed is currently provided by Romania, but the price has increased, so in November the tariffs have increased again.
After the separatist authorities in Transnistria stopped delivering electricity, the Republic of Moldova reduced the volume of gas for the left bank of the Dniester, and Tiraspol complained to Moscow.
At the end of October, the representatives of Chisinau and Tiraspol had a round of discussions focused on the energy issue, but without much results, as the Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration, Oleg Serebrian, later commented.
PURPOSE: To inoculate the idea that the government in Chisinau is making money at the expense of the Russian citizens of Transnistria, violating the provisions of the contract with Gazprom.
WHY THE NARRATIVE IS FALSE: Even though Moldovagaz has reduced the volume of gas for the left bank of the Dniester, the remaining amount covers only 80% of its needs, so Chisinau was forced to procure over 150 million cubic meters of gas, which it stored in Romania and Ukraine. It is logical, as an official from the Ministry of Infrastructure and Regional Development told Radio Moldova, that since the Republic of Moldova has to buy, it cannot sell.
Also, the director of Moldovagaz, Vadim Ceban, has stated that on the one hand the company does not have the right to sell gas on the foreign market, and on the other hand Ukraine cannot use for its own needs the quantities of gas that the Republic of Moldova stores on its territory. “Moldovagaz, first of all, cannot sell to anyone except on the domestic market, according to the contract with Gazprom. The gas that is now stored in Ukraine, in underground storages, are the property of Energocom and can be used in case of emergency, but all operators are governed by European rules, which prohibit the use of gas for their own purposes”, Vadim Ceban explained .
GRAIN OF TRUTH: The Republic of Moldova has reduced the volume of gas for the separatist region of Transnistria after the Cuciurgan Power Plant stopped supplying electricity.