The fairytale that wasn’t: the Iasi-Ungheni gas interconnector

The Iaşi-Ungheni Interconnector – the pipeline designed to connect the Republic of Moldova to the European gas markets – seems to have reached a rough patch in its way to finally becoming fully operational.

Though it was finalized and officially inaugurated this August, gas volumes are yet to be transported through the pipeline, mostly due to regulatory conundrums within the Republic of Moldova.

The Iaşi-Ungheni interconnector is a 43 km long pipeline meant to transport up to 1.5 bcm of gas per year from Romania to the Republic of Moldova, under the Prut River that constitutes the border between the two countries. Construction works only took one year, but they followed three years of talks between the two parties. Costs reached a total of €26.4m, most of which was covered by Brussels and Bucharest.

Romania produces around 11 bcm of natural gas per year through two main companies, OMV Petrom and Romgaz Mediaş. This covers about three quarters of Romania’s annual consumption, with the rest being imported from Russia. The Iaşi-Ungheni Interconnector is the first export route for Romanian gas before reverse flow is implemented on the Szeged-Arad interconnector and construction of the Bulgaria – Romania interconnector is finished.

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