The Moldovan transmission system operator Moldovatransgaz has launched an open season for capacity at key interconnection points with Ukraine, the head of the vertically integrated incumbent Moldovagaz said on Friday.
Speaking to ICIS, president of the board of directors of Moldovagaz Vadim Ceban said its affiliated transmission system operator had launched a consultation for entry/exit capacity at Grebenyky, Kaushany and Oleksiivka along the Trans-Balkan pipeline.
Capacity at the interconnection points with Ukraine would be offered in both directions.
This means that natural gas could be transited via Moldova from Ukraine to Romania or Romania to Ukraine.
Companies which are interested can submit their views until 30 March.
The results of the open season will be published a month later.
“We expect very high interest in this capacity, anything between 3 to 6 billion cubic metres (bcm)/year,” he said, pointing out that the current available physical capacity hovers around 1bcm/year.
Ceban said Moldova was also looking to amend the legislation to allow backhaul.
He said the maximum capacity of the Trans-Balkan pipeline inside Moldova was 40bcm/day, but added that the pipeline had only been used at half capacity in recent years.
The pipeline has been in operation since the 1980s and had been used to transit Russian gas via Ukraine and Moldova to Romania, Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece and North Macedonia.
However, much of the volumes which had been shipped to the region have now been diverted to the newly commissioned TurkStream at the beginning of the year.
The only countries receiving gas from Ukraine via this route are Moldova and Romania.
Romania and Ukraine have signed an interconnection agreement at the end of last year. The interconnection agreement covers only one of four interconnection points on the border between Ukraine and Romania.
Traders active in the region have been calling on Moldovatransgaz to offer third party access to the pipeline and ensure fair transmission tariffs.