The Republic of Moldova will be connected to Romania’s natural gas grid by the end of 2012 and is taking part in talks in Bucharest in order to join the AGRI project, Moldovan Prime Minister Vlad Filat announced, ‘Evenimentul Zilei’ daily informs. Moldova could have alternative sources of natural gas starting in 2013. During the same meeting, the Moldovan Prime Minister stated that negotiations on including Moldova in the AGRI project are currently taking place. “I’ve talked with Traian Basescu in order to find a formula that would include the Republic of Moldova, making it AGRI-M. A technical evaluation will take place by the end of November and then we will decide,” Filat said. ‘Unimedia’ points out that the AGRI project (Azerbaijan – Georgia – Romania Interconnector) is meant to transport LNG from the Caspian Sea region to Europe. At the same time, the project entails the construction of two LNG terminals – one in Tbilisi and one in Constanta harbour.
In the same context, Economy Minister Ion Ariton is in a three-day visit to Moscow, where he takes part in the meeting of a Romanian-Russian intergovernmental commission for economic and technical-scientific cooperation, hotnews.ro informs. According to the Economy Ministry, Ariton will meet Gazprom President Alexei Miller, as well as the leadership of Russian companies Mechel and Lukoil. The meeting with Miller is crucial considering that several joint projects have to be addressed. The talks could touch upon the renegotiation of the Convention signed with the Russian Federation in 1996, natural gas imports, the construction of 10 natural gas storage sites in Romania and the South Stream project.
The renegotiation of the Convention is a very important issue, the process being ongoing. The Convention refers to the quantity of Russian natural gas exported to Romania and its transit through other countries. An essential modification brought to the Convention would be the introduction of the right to re-sell to other states the natural gas that Russia sold to Romanian consumers.
Moreover, the quantities of natural gas that Gazprom will export to Romania will be negotiated too, and could reach 10 billion cubic meters by 2020. Compared to the amount of natural gas that Romania imports now, the difference is significant. According to Gazprom data, 2.6 billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas were exported to Romania last year. Renegotiating the Convention represents one of the three necessary steps for devising a national strategy in the natural gas domain. In its current form, the Convention stipulates that “the natural gas that the Russian Federation will export to Romania for the needs of consumers on the Romanian territory cannot be exported to third countries without Gazprom’s approval.”
Likewise, other quantities of natural gas that Gazprom will export to Romania on the long-term will be established. Ac-cording to hotnews.ro, a level of 10 billion cubic meters could be reached by 2020. The hike will be gradual. A Gazprom report shows that Romania imported 2.6 billion cubic meters last year. Thus, it can be said that by 2020 Romania could end up importing almost four times the amount it imported last year. Moreover, according to the Convention, a mixed Romgaz-Gazprom company should have been set up. The company has not been set up although there were talks in this sense.