While the cease-fire between Ukraine and pro-Russian and Russian fighters holds steady, another fight is poised to begin over Russian gas for Ukraine. And, this time, it’s a fight that, by default, involves Ukraine’s small, pro-Western neighbor, Moldova, too.
Currently, Moldova, the recent signatory of a European Union Association Agreement, relies entirely on natural gas from Russia, delivered via Ukraine. Moldovagaz, a company half-owned by the Russian energy giant Gazprom and 35.3 percent by the Moldovan government, controls distribution of that gas.
In late August, with the inauguration of a 43-kilometer-long pipeline from neighboring Romania, Moldova took a first step toward breaking with this Soviet-era dependence on Russian gas. But multiple obstacles suggest the break could be long in coming.
Stretching from the Romanian city of Iasi to the northwestern Moldovan town of Ungheni, the 26-million-euro ($33.4 million) pipeline ultimately will be able to supply 1.5 -2 billion cubic meters of gas, an amount that surpasses the 1.1 bcm Moldova now imports from Russia.
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