Moldovan market regulations threaten competition – traders

Aura Sabadus


LONDON (ICIS)–Gas traders have raised concerns about measures that could block market competition and discourage private initiative in Moldova.

Market participants told ICIS the government was looking to amend the existing gas legislation to force end consumers to pay an ‘equity contribution’ if they terminate or change contracts with suppliers delivering the gas under the public service obligation.

As Moldova declared a state of emergency last year, the fee, which was adopted earlier in July, would apply only for the duration of the emergency.

However, the government is now mulling making it permanent, by embedding it in law.

Market participants say this could block the market as many consumers are now ready to switch suppliers as gas prices have been falling.

The government argues the fee is necessary in order to recover costs accumulated by public suppliers during the winter 2022/23 and which could not be fully covered by the regulated tariff charged to end consumers.

The government office did not respond by publication time.


The fee adds to a catalogue of complaints from private suppliers, who say they are being squeezed out of the market.

Independent participants told ICIS that decisions taken by the regulator ANRE have been discriminating against them, forcing six out of 10 private gas suppliers to leave the market in recent years.

One supplier said regulated end-consumer prices of gas set by the regulator earlier this month will cause it to lose millions of lei , potentially forcing it into bankruptcy.

The company, along with other suppliers active in Moldova, is expected to fulfil a public service obligation (PSO), which means it is obliged to sell volumes at regulated prices established by ANRE.

In a letter sent to the regulator at the end of August and seen by ICIS, the independent supplier said it incurred losses of New Moldovan Lei 47.1m (€2.46m) in 2022 alone as a result of regulations.

The company said that while state companies have benefited from state support in purchasing gas in recent months, private companies did not enjoy similar advantages.


In the absence of such support, the private supplier was forced to secure volumes on European hubs earlier in February, becoming the first independent company active in Moldova to do so.

This helped it to optimise its portfolio and make cost savings on gas procurement thanks to an attractive spread between purchase prices on hubs and end-consumer tariffs in Moldova. Previously, it had to buy gas from the incumbent Moldovagaz as import for private companies was blocked and only state-owned wholesaler Energocom could import gas from European hubs.

However, independent suppliers say ANRE recently recalculated tariffs to end-consumers and took the view that these should be lowered because some companies saved costs by buying volumes on hubs in the first half of 2023. Nevertheless, suppliers say the regulator has been neglecting their losses incurred in previous years.

As a result, the new tariffs are significantly lower than the price at which companies buy gas abroad, forcing them into a precarious financial situation, the supplier told ICIS.

“Such measures are hitting market competition and Moldova’s interests,” the company said in the letter sent to ANRE and seen by ICIS.

Responding to ICIS, ANRE said the Moldovan gas market was open, which meant consumers could choose their suppliers in line with EU-aligned rules.

ANRE is setting tariffs only for companies which have PSO obligations and the methodology for calculating the tariffs is based on objective criteria, which include a reasonable rate of return, the regulator added. 
“It should be noted that the tariff methodology also provides for the mechanism for correcting the regulated income, so that the tariff surplus/deficit is compensated to the supplier with the public service obligation, until the end of the regulatory period,” ANRE said.


Global News + ICIS Chemical Business (ICB)

See the full picture, with unlimited access to ICIS chemicals news across all markets and regions, plus ICB, the industry-leading magazine for the chemicals industry.

Contact us

Partnering with ICIS unlocks a vision of a future you can trust and achieve. We leverage our unrivalled network of industry experts to deliver a comprehensive market view based on independent and reliable data, insight and analytics.

Contact us to learn how we can support you as you transact today and plan for tomorrow.