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Russia's Gazprom yet to receive debt payment from Moldova

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Russia's Gazprom yet to receive debt payment from Moldova

Highlights

Deadline for payment Nov. 24

Gazprom warned non-payment will result in supply halt

Analysts say suspension could be used to characterize Gazprom as unreliable supplier

Russian gas producer and supplier Gazprom said Nov. 24 that it has not yet received payment from Moldova for debts accrued for natural gas supplies.

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"The current payment for gas from Moldova has not been received," Gazprom spokesperson Sergei Kupriyanov said in an interview broadcast on the Russia 24 TV channel.

"The 48-hour period from notification about suspension of supplies due to non-payment expires today."

Kupriyanov's comments come amid persistent concerns over winter supply volumes of Russian gas to European markets. Factors fueling supply concerns include the risk of further sanctions, uncertainty over when supplies via Nord Stream II may begin, and unpredictable seasonal factors.

Gazprom warned Moldova Nov. 22 that it would cut natural gas supplies to the country within 48 hours if it did not receive debt for supplies accrued up to Nov. 22.

Analysts said a suspension in supplies could be interpreted as a sign Gazprom was an unreliable supplier.

"We think it is possible that such a move could be used to frame Gazprom as a non-reliable supplier despite the company providing preferential terms to Moldova when it renewed its supply contract for five years and Moldova not meeting its part of the agreement," Sova Capital said in a research note published Nov. 23.

Moldovagaz said in a statement posted on its website Nov. 22 that it was confident it would resolve the issue as soon as possible with government support.

The company added that it had failed to meet its payment obligations on time as a result of a balance of payments deficit, due to an increase in the purchase price for natural gas between the first quarter and October.

In recent months European gas prices have experienced significant volatility, with the TTF day-ahead price hitting a record high of Eur116.10/MWh on Oct. 5, according to S&P Global Platts assessments. Platts assessed the TTF day-ahead price at Eur91.28/MWh on Nov. 23.

Gazprom and Moldovagaz signed a five-year extension to their gas supply contract on Oct. 29. The agreement took effect Nov. 1.

Moldova declared a state of emergency in mid-October over insufficient gas supplies, urging customers to use gas sparingly. Alternative suppliers to Russia including Ukraine's Naftogaz Ukrayiny, Poland's PGNiG and global trader Vitol won tenders to supply gas to Moldova in October. Moldova has no gas storage.

Moldova's demand is divided between the Moldovan territory on the right bank of the Dniester, of around 1.2 Bcm/year, and the separatist region of Trans-Dniester on the left bank at 1.8 Bcm.