Spinu addressed the security of Moldova’s gas supplies and mentioned a “possible co-operation with Azerbaijan in this direction”.
Azeri energy minister Parviz Shahbazov said Azerbaijan has the “potential to increase exports” and the country is ready to enter discussions with interested parties. Expanding exports would potentially involve the “identification of consumers, signing of contracts, investment, establishment of interconnectors and necessary support”, Shahbazov said.
Moldova depends primarily on Russia for its gas, and Moldovagaz in November last year extended a supply deal with state-controlled Gazprom for five years.
A capacity expansion on the Iasi-Ungheni pipeline linking Romania and Moldova lifted firm capacity to 55.4 GWh/d towards Moldova and 21.5 GWh/d towards Romania. This could enable Moldova to receive some Azeri supply at the Iasi-Ungheni border point, which has been idle since October.
Moldovatransgaz board chairman Vadim Ceban had previously expressed doubt that the expansion of the Iasi-Ungheni-Chisinau pipeline would provide an opportunity to diversify supply, given that Romania has no excess gas for sale.
Romania has also expressed its readiness to support the southern gas corridor’s expansion to the Balkans and central Europe, proposing the inclusion of the Romania-Bulgaria interconnector and the Bulgaria-Romania-Hungary-Austria (Brua) gas pipeline.
Several countries with no gas infrastructure in place reiterated their interest in the southern gas corridor, including Albania and Montenegro, the Azeri ministry said.
Given that gas is cleaner than other fossil fuels, “the development of the gas sector sits high on our agenda”, Albanian deputy energy minister Ilir Bejtja said.
The operator of the 10bn m³/yr Trans-Adriatic pipeline, which carries Azeri supply from Greece to southern Italy through Albania, previously said it expects the pipeline’s new exit point at Fier, Albania, to be completed in 2024.
The pipeline already transits gas through Albania, but the country lacks the infrastructure needed to receive offtake from the line.
And North Macedonia expects to join the southern gas corridor in the coming years, when the planned interconnector with Greece will connect the country with the southern gas corridor, the country’s economy minister Kreshnik Bekteshi said after the ministerial meeting.
Greek system operator Desfa said last month that provided there is enough interest at the market test, the interconnector could be completed in the third quarter of 2024.