Western energy investment in Moldova depends on election result

Moldova may be landlocked, but it has access to the Danube in the form of the port of Giurgiulești. Access that has drawn the interests of European energy companies. [Wikimedia Commons]

Energy majors are lining up to obtain hydrocarbon exploration projects in Moldova but the outcome is dependent on the result of the upcoming presidential election, according to a former Romanian energy minister. EURACTIV Romania reports.

European and American companies are negotiating the purchase of Moldovan energy companies and want to start oil and gas exploration projects as soon as possible.

But this cooperation is dependent on the outcome of the Eastern European country’s presidential runoff election, claimed Romania’s former Minister of Energy, Răzvan Nicolescu. 

“There are more and more signals that energy cooperation with the Republic of Moldova, with Romanian, European and American companies is on the up and is evolving positively,” said Nicolescu at Romania’s annual conference of electricity suppliers.

Romania releases first loan tranche to crisis-hit Moldova

European Union member Romania said Wednesday (24 August) it has paid the first tranche of a multi-million-euro loan to neighbouring Moldova, in a bid to prevent the ex-Soviet nation from economic collapse and help it maintain a pro-European course.

He added that foreign companies have an interest in “taking over the port terminal of Giurgiulești” and “negotiating electricity distribution in Moldova”, as well as buying up existing energy companies.

However, he insisted that this is all dependent on the final result of important elections in Chișinău, the Moldovan capital.

Nicolescu, now a consultant with Deloitte, said that he “expects things to continue developing positively, for investments to be made and for jobs to be created in Moldova. On the condition that Moldovan citizens elect a leader who wants these investments to happen and to be closer to the West.”

Moldova is currently holding its first direct presidential since the mid-90s and its citizens will be asked to vote again on 13 November after pro-Russian candidate Igor Dodon narrowly failed to gain a majority over his pro-European rival, Maia Sandu.

Pro-Russia candidate narrowly misses first round victory in Moldova election

Moldova’s presidential election will go to a second round, preliminary results showed early today (31 October), after a pro-Russian socialist candidate fell short of winning sufficient support to achieve all-out victory.

The former energy minister also claimed that the Iași-Ungheni pipeline, a project supported by European money, will soon be extended to the Moldovan capital. “I pride myself that in 2014 (when Nicolescu was in office), the first phase of the Iași-Ungheni gas interconnector received investment,” Nicolescu said.

In early October, President of the Competition Council Bogdan Chirițoiu ruled that aid given to state-owned gas company Transgaz was in line with the rules and did not constitute illegal state aid. In 2015, Transgaz was given roughly €18 million for the pipeline, which was financed by the Romania-Moldova Cross-Border Cooperation Programme.

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