Vulnerable Moldova Tightens Energy Cooperation With Norway

Vulnerable Moldova Tightens Energy Cooperation With Norway

OSLO – Norway and Moldova on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding to tighten cooperation in the energy sector aimed at securing supply in the eastern European country that is trying to end its long-standing reliance on Russia.

The agreement aims to “promote and enhance cooperation in the field of energy; including but not limited to, energy transition and energy security, as well as to encourage new investments in the energy sector”.

Signed in Oslo by Norway’s energy minister Terje Aasland and his Moldovan counterpart Victor Parlicov during a two-day state visit by Moldova’s President Maia Sandu, it covers cooperation on a government, research and private sector level.

A former Soviet republic and one of Europe’s poorest nations, Moldova is seen as particularly vulnerable to the consequences of Russia’s war in neighbouring Ukraine.

NATO-member Norway, which shares a border with Russia in the Arctic, has become Europe’s top gas supplier after a sharp reduction in Russian flows.

It also provides financial support to Moldova through its multi-billion-dollar Ukraine aid programme, the latter including 400 million crowns ($36.87 million) for the purchase of gas in 2023.

In the past, Moldova relied almost exclusively on Russian gas under a deal with state-controlled Gazprom but stepped up diversification efforts in the wake of the Ukraine war.

The country does not currently buy gas from Russia but its breakaway Transdniestria region relies on its supplies.

While Tuesday’s agreement mentions security of gas supplies as one area of interest, the key focus is on renewable energy, electrification as well as cybersecurity.

Moldova has already increased the share of renewable energy sources in its electricity consumption to 10.5% in 2023 from 3.6% in 2021, driven by wind and solar power generation, according to official data.

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