The construction of the gas pipeline that will interconnect Romania and Moldova was
inaugurated yesterday in presence of the prime ministers of both countries, Victor Ponta and Iurie Leanca, and of the European Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger.
The Iasi-Ungheni gas pipeline, which will enter operations next year, reflects the passing from words to facts, PM Victor Ponta said yesterday in the Republic of Moldova, during the inauguration ceremony of the construction of the Iasi-Ungheni pipeline.
“The Bucharest government must give Moldova neither advice, nor indications, but it must work together with the government of Moldova to make the life of the people on both banks of the Prut better than it is now,” Ponta stated. There is no reason for Russia to be upset by the construction of the Iasi-Ungheni pipeline, which will diversify the resources for supplying Moldova, because both Romania and the Moldovan state have very good relations with “The Big Neighbour” and the population is entitled to cheap gas, PM Ponta said. He added that Romania will produce in 2018 enough natural gas to cover consumption and that the country’s energy strategy also includes the relation with Moldova.
In his turn, Premier Iurie Leanca said that the European Union and Romania demonstrated that they are strategic partners in this project and the support for the energy sector has become much “sounder” and more visible than during the previous years.
“When the Ungheni-Iasi pipeline will become operational next year, we will have an additional import channel of natural gas. We started, together with our partners from the European Union and Romania, the preparations for the next phase of the project, which includes expanding the gas pipeline towards Chisinau,” Leanca mentions. He appreciated that this project conducted with support from the EU also represents a new step “on the long and complex road” of Moldova’s integration with the EU. On the same occasion, the European commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger assured that this project will further receive support from the EU and mentioned that the gas pipeline has a strategic importance for both countries, because it will diversify the supplying with energy resources of the Republic of Moldova, while also increasing the energy security of the whole region. He added that the Union will further support the energy projects between the two countries, including the interconnection of power grids.
The gas pipeline will be completed by the end of the year, according to assurances given by constructors to PM Victor Ponta and will be built by the consortium of companies JV Habau Pipeline Systems SRL Romania, Inspet SA Romania and IPM-Partners SRL Romania. “We will meet in December to inaugurate the gas pipeline. I hope it will finally be something we do, not just say,” the Romanian premier added.
Project worth EUR 26.49 M, with EU support
The construction project of the Iasi-Ungheni gas pipeline has a budget of EUR 26.49 M, including EUR 7 M which represents the financial contribution of the EU. The project aims at securing a superior level of energy security for the Republci of Moldova and eastern Romania, by diversifying the gas sources. The pipeline will have a total length of 43.2 km, of which approximately 32 km on Romanian soil, a diameter of 508 cm and will be buried at a depth of 1.8-2.2 m. Its maximum capacity will be 1.5 bln cu.m. each year, which exceeds the gas consumption of Moldova. For the pipeline to be used at top capacity, Moldova will also construct a pipeline between Ungheni and Straseni, which will allow the supply of gas from Iasi-Ungheni and will secure the annual gas consumption. This requires investments of at least EUR 60 M and Chisinau authorities announced that the project could be achieved in a 4-5 years interval. The construction of the reversible pipeline Iasi-Ungheni was agreed upon and included in the Moldovan-Romanian collaboration protocol of 24 May 2010 and in the Memorandum between the Moldovan Ministry of Economy and the Romanian Ministry of Economy, Commerce and Business Environment signed on 25 October 2010.
Benefits for the two countries
Chisinau hopes that Romania will be able to supply gas to Moldova at a smaller price than the gas imported from Russia. The price for 1,000 cu.m. of gas charged by Russia in May this year was USD 400, while in the winter of 2012 it amounted to USD 550. With the gas from own production being at half of this cost, the price at which it will be delivered to Moldova, of USD 450 for 1,000 cu.m. might bring us profit, especially after the gas extracted in the near future will enter consumption and imports from Russia will diminish, according to the president of the National Regulatory Authority for Energy (ANRE), Niculae Havrilet.