Moldova interested in joining Solidarity Ring initiative for gas imports

In a recent statement to Azerbaijani publication Trend, Moldova’s energy minister, Konstantin Borosan, revealed the country’s keen interest in becoming a part of the Solidarity Ring initiative. Moldova is currently striving to reduce its dependence on Gazprom by exploring alternative gas sources from neighboring countries, including Bulgaria.

Borosan emphasized the importance of securing long-term contracts lasting several years, stating, “These projects are only short-term solutions, and our objective is to establish stable, long-term partnerships.”

The Solidarity Ring initiative, aimed at facilitating the transportation of additional quantities of natural gas from Azerbaijan to Europe, recently signed a memorandum of understanding in Sofia at the end of April. Key participating countries at the time of the signing were Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Hungary, Romania, and Slovakia.

During the signing ceremony, specific details regarding the gas transmission route were not disclosed. However, officials mentioned the possibility of utilizing funds from various European sources, including RePowerEU, to support the necessary investments. Currently, gas from Azerbaijan is transported through the Southern Gas Corridor, passing through Greece before reaching Italy. Furthermore, gas deliveries to the Bulgarian market are facilitated via the IGB deviation.

With potential capacity expansion, the connection between Azerbaijan and Bulgaria can be increased, allowing for enhanced gas supplies from Azerbaijan to reach Europe, benefiting both neighboring countries on the Balkan Peninsula and Central Europe. Notably, there is also available capacity at the border with Turkey, which forms part of the route of the Southern Gas Corridor. It’s worth mentioning that Greece voiced concerns shortly after the signing of the memorandum, fearing that Russian natural gas might enter Europe through the Solidarity Ring, given Turkey’s reliance on the “Turkish Stream” pipeline.

Officials in Athens have raised their apprehensions about the Solidarity Ring potentially utilizing funds allocated by Brussels for energy flow diversification, which could result in importing gas from Russia. This scenario contradicts the European Union’s goal of reducing dependence on Russian energy sources.

Interestingly, neither Greece nor Turkey, both of which are involved in plans to import increased quantities of gas from Azerbaijan as agreed by the European Commission in 2022, were present at the Sofia event during the signing of the memorandum.

The inclusion of Moldova in the Solidarity Ring initiative would further strengthen the project’s aim of diversifying gas imports and reducing reliance on Gazprom. As the initiative gains traction, the prospect of enhanced energy security and stability within the region grows more promising.

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