EU grants Moldova third package reform delay
Moscow, 19 October (Argus) — The EU has agreed to Moldova's request to push back the deadline for the country to bring itself into line with the region's third package of energy market reforms, given the country's exceptional circumstances.
Moldovan economy minister Valery Lazar requested the deadline to be moved to 2020 from 2016 at a ministerial council meeting of the European Energy Community (EEC) yesterday. His move was backed by the European Commission, which is finalising a formal proposal for an extension of the deadline. The EEC will fast-track a decision on the proposal as soon as it is formally received.
The ministerial council also proposed the creation of a “joint expert group” to help Moldova and Ukraine with their implementation of the third energy package. The ECC is to inform the commission on Moldova's request now.
The unbundling requirements of the third energy package require Moldova to separate the transport and supply divisions of pipeline operator and gas distributor Moldovagaz, in which Russia's state-controlled Gazprom holds a 50pc share, by the end of 2016.
But, defending its investment in the firm, Gazprom is reluctant to significantly reduce the price it charges Moldova for gas — around $390/'000m³. Gazprom is only willing to grant a discount if the unbundling is delayed.
The dispute was made more acute by the looming expiry of Moldova's supply and transit contracts with Gazprom this year. Russia insists that intergovernmental agreements must be signed ahead of export and transportation agreements.
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