Moldova interested in expanding energy co-op with Azerbaijan

SEPTEMBER 19, 2023

The energy sector has become one of the priority areas of cooperation between Azerbaijan and many European countries, one of which is Moldova.

Report presents an interview with Minister of Energy of Moldova Victor Parlicov, who spoke about the potential for expanding energy cooperation with Azerbaijan, the project of laying a cable line under the Black Sea, the role of the Southern Gas Corridor, etc.

- How do you assess the level of development of energy cooperation between Azerbaijan and Moldova at the moment? How should this co-operation be deepened?

- We can describe that we have close, and friendly relations. The presidents of our countries had several meetings, and energy was one of the key topics. Recently the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, was in the Republic of Moldova for the 2nd European Political Community Summit. Other Moldovan officials were in Azerbaijan on various occasions, at the invitation of the Azerbaijani side, at meetings under the auspices of the EU or on other occasions. So we have a resumption of our economic cooperation.

The Republic of Moldova has been focused for the last months on the diversification of energy resources and routes, in order to reduce dependence on Gazprom and strengthen energy independence. In this context, we want to expand cooperation with countries that have energy resources, such as Azerbaijan. We want Moldovan citizens to have access to gas and electricity at the best possible prices, that's why we want to build an energy market as competitive as possible.

Of course we want to deepen our relationship in the interest of our citizens.

- The State Secretary of the Ministry of Energy of the country Constantin Borosan stated that the country is interested in the "Ring of Solidarity" project. Is the country expected to join this initiative?

- It is true that this project helped European countries to have access to diversified energy resources. Moldova cannot stand aside. Last winter the Moldovan state company Energocom was the first company which used the gas interconnector between Bulgaria and Greece, as well as the trans-Balkan route in reverse mode. And we managed to have gas at lower prices than those offered by Gazprom for Moldovagaz.

The state company Energocom participates on the European procurement platform, through which we can buy gas for current consumption or stocks including from Azerbaijan. We also make purchases through other formulas and sources. We already buy gas from a number of companies from different countries. We are less blackmailable on this subject.

- How can Azerbaijan and Moldova co-operate in the RES sector?

- This year, Moldova intends to organize the first auctions for large renewable energy parks. We are interested in taking over good practices in this area and why not we are even waiting for potential investors from your country. We are also interested in importing green energy (thermal from Georgia, wind from Azerbaijan) through the future submarine cable under the Black Sea.

On the other hand, the Energy Efficiency Agency from Moldova is going to sign a memorandum of understanding with the profile agency from Azerbaijan, the field in which we want to expand cooperation.

Last but not least, we also want to advance the idea of building a balancing power plant.

- How could you comment on the project of submarine cable under the Black Sea? How important is it for Moldova?

- The submarine cable under the Black Sea is a project that we could not have dreamed of 5-10 years ago. The war in Ukraine completely changed the situation in the region.

We are interested in this project supported by the European Union, which we expect to bring energy resources to the region at affordable prices. We also can have renewable and flexible electricity from the Azerbaijan-Georgia area in Romania-Moldova.

Since March 2022, Moldova and Ukraine have synchronized with ENTSO-E. We are now working on advancing other energy interconnection projects. Our future is in the EU, in a more European connected market.

- In your opinion, what role does the Southern Gas Corridor play in ensuring Europe's energy security?

- As I said, the Russia's war against Ukraine radically changed the situation in the region, making the Southern gas corridor a vital one for many European countries. We, like many colleagues, had to learn to adapt to new realities on the fly. For the first in its history, Moldova was on the European agenda not as a problem, but as part of the solution. Moldova is a supplier of security in the region! At first it was the refugee crisis, but later it expanded to the energy area. Ukraine has Europe's largest gas storage capacity, of course we want to serve as a connecting corridor between the Mediterranean Sea and South-Eastern Europe and central and northern Europe.

Energocom has already used the Southern Gas Corridor, so we know this route. Moldova, being a candidate country for joining the EU, supports the EU-Azerbaijan agreements and the idea of increasing the capacity of this route, with the idea of making joint purchases at the best prices.