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Moldova Declares Energy Emergency Over Gas Shortage

 Moldova consumes some 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year. (file photo)
Moldova consumes some 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year. (file photo)

CHISINAU -- Moldova's parliament has voted to approve a 30-day state of emergency in the energy sector to try to ease gas shortages after the government failed to agree on a new energy deal with Russia's Gazprom.

"We face a critical situation," Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita told lawmakers ahead of the vote on October 22, adding that the introduction of a state of emergency will "allow the purchase of the necessary volume of natural gas from alternative sources."

The measure will last until November 20 and allow the government in Europe's poorest country to buy gas under a simplified scheme with additional funds amid soaring world energy prices.

Moldova's contract with Russia's state-controlled Gazprom, the largest supplier of natural gas to Europe, expired at the end of last month.

Gazprom has extended the contract to the end of October, while raising the price to $790 per cubic meters from $550 last month.

Some experts say Moscow has boosted prices as a reprisal against Moldova for electing pro-Western President Maia Sandu last year.

Gavrilita said Moldovagaz, whose main shareholder is Gazprom, "is not keeping its word" and failed to supply the required volume of gas -- an accusation rejected by the company.

The prime minister thanked neighbors Romania and Ukraine for supplying some gas, and said her country will be seeking supplies from EU countries.

The country of 2.6 million people, sandwiched between EU member Romania and Ukraine, consumes 2.8 billion cubic meters of gas per year.

Moldova’s gas crisis come as gas prices across Europe and other parts of the world have soared to record levels in recent weeks.

With reporting by Reuters and AFP

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