Romania/Moldova: Romania’s state-owned natural gas transport operator Transgaz announced on Feb. 27 that its Moldovan subsidiary Eurotransgaz won the auction for taking over Moldova’s Vestmoldtransgaz, which operates the Iasi-Ungheni gas interconnector between Romania and Moldova. The contract that attests Transgaz takes over Vestmoldtransgaz from the Moldovan government will be signed by the end of March. To make it possible for the gas interconnector to supply Romanian gas to Moldova, an investment of up to €93million is needed to build the key connection between the existing pipe and the industrialized area around Chisinau – the capital of the Republic of Moldova. That means that up to 120km pipeline with a capacity of 1.5bn cubic metres (cm) needs to be built soon. Considering that the country’s contract with Russian Gazprom, which currently covers 100% of Moldova’s gas supplies, expires in 2018, the government said it would prefer that the new connector be ready by the end of the year, which is rather unrealistic.
Russia/Ukraine/EU: On March 1, Russian Gazprom decided not to restart supplies to Ukraine. This comes after a day earlier, on Feb. 28, the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce ordered Gazprom to pay Ukraine’s Naftogaz a total of $4.63bn to for the failure to meet gas transit obligations. Since the court previously ordered Naftogaz to pay Gazprom $2.56 billion for gas supply arrears, Gazprom only owes a net payment of $2.56bn. Since March 1, the Ukrainian authorities took special measures to deal with the new crisis: Naftogaz’ contracted additional volumes of gas from Poland and the situation stabilized on March 5, with stable supplies for the domestic market. The European Commission Vice-President Maroš Šefčovič talked to Ukraine’s Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman, Naftogaz CEO Andrey Kobolev and Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak during the past few days, trying to facilitate an understanding between the parties.
Poland: The Polish government announced last week that it intends to combine two of its biggest oil refiners. Following this, the Polish refiner PKN Orlen announced on Feb. 28 that it wants to buy a 53% stake in the Gdansk refinery Grupa Lotos. The government plan aims at creating an integrated group that would have the potential to compete in European markets. This is not a new plan, but the government has talked about it for a number of years. However, it didn’t materialize because of local authorities opposition. It may be that it is not materialized this time either, considering that the main opposition party Civic Platform controls Gdansk, considering its mayor Pawel Adamowicz is a Civic Platform member and has already said that he was ready to fight against the planned merger.
Macedonia: Macedonian Electricity Transmission System Operator (MEPSO) announced last week a tender of EUR 14 million for the construction of four new 100kV transmission lines over a 100 km power network. The tender is open to companies from anywhere in the world and the deadline for application is April 16. The proposed project aims at modernizing the existing routes relates to linking transmission stations Bitola 1-Prilep, Skoplje 4-Veles, Štip-Ovčje Polje and Veles-Ovčje Polje.
France/Libya: The French energy company Total announced on March 3 that it had bought a 16.33 percent stake in Libya’s Waha concessions from the U.S. Marathon Oil. Besides the fact that the deal gives Total access to reserves and resources in Libya, it also signals the French company perceives less risky investment environment in the country, where security is still volatile.
To get this monitor in your email every week, before it gets published, register your email here.