Moldova 'reverse' imports gas from Slovakia for first time, official says

Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu attends a news conference in Chisinau
Moldovan Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu speaks during a news conference in Chisinau, Moldova November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Vladislav Culiomza

CHISINAU, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Moldova has imported natural gas from Slovakia, for the first time obtaining volumes pumped from west to east, a senior member of the government said on Thursday.

The comments by Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Spinu demonstrated Moldova's ability to source gas from places other than Russia as it faces growing supply problems.

The small ex-Soviet state is reliant on Russian natural gas supplied by Gazprom (GAZP.MM) and is grappling with a 40% cut in Russian deliveries that has hurt its ability to supply enough electricity to its 2.5 million population.

Spinu said Moldovan company Energocom had bought 5 million cubic metres of gas in Budnice in Slovakia and lauded it as a step towards greater energy independence.

"What at first glance should have destroyed us has instead made us stronger," he wrote on the Telegram messing app. "By acting in solidarity and making economies, we will get through this winter and come out of it with our heads held high, even stronger, and energy-independent."

Moldova, led by a pro-Western government that has denounced Moscow's Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, has been hit hard this year by a surge in natural gas prices.

Moldova's contract with Gazprom fluctuates from month to month based on the spot market price of gas and oil.

Gazprom cut supplies of natural gas to 5.7 million cubic metres per day from Oct. 1, around 40% lower than consumption.

Reporting by Alexander Tanas; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Timothy Heritage

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