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CEELM10 Interview: A Decade of Energy Projects in Moldova

CEELM10 Interview: A Decade of Energy in Moldova

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Dolea & Co Partner Sorin Dolea talks about the evolution of energy projects and their role in Moldova's legal landscape over the last 10 years.

CEELM: Over the last ten years, what types of energy projects have kept your team the busiest?

Dolea: The bulk of our activities have been centered around gas distribution and supply. Since 2020, we've witnessed the liberalization of the supply market as well as a significant increase in gas traders entering the Moldovan market. This trend is likely to persist, with a shift towards more imports of natural gas from Western sources, including via the pipeline that connects Moldova and Romania, and a decrease in imports from Russian sources. The shift was partly due to Ukraine’s announcement that it would not renew its transit contract with Gazprom, prompting us to diversify our suppliers.

CEELM: Can you pinpoint the most intense periods your team has faced over the last ten years?

Dolea: The intensity of work has been consistently high since 2020 as we've expanded from gas to include renewables, electricity, and oil, thereby diversifying our client portfolio. This expansion into various forms of energy has kept us particularly busy.

CEELM: How have the profiles of energy projects evolved over this time, and what trends have you observed?

Dolea: There’s been a noticeable pivot towards renewables, driven by ongoing reforms in the energy sector. This includes a rise in solar and wind projects, although our potential for hydro energy is limited by our geographical features. The client base is becoming increasingly Western, often involving Ukrainian or Romanian companies with French or US roots. The link between market reforms and client profiles is direct; more reforms equate to more diverse clients.

CEELM: In terms of client needs, what new expectations do you see emerging in the energy sector, and what aspects do you think have decreased in importance over time?

Dolea: Clients are now looking for clarity on market operations and stability in the investment framework. They prioritize long-term guarantees and a clear understanding of legislative impacts on their investments, reflecting a shift towards more secure and predictable engagement in the sector.

CEELM: From a legislative and regulatory standpoint, what recurring challenges has your team encountered in facilitating deals and projects? How have these challenges evolved over the past decade?

Dolea: The legal environment is very dynamic, with frequent updates to align with EU standards, reflecting Moldova’s candidate status. However, not all EU policies fit Moldova’s context, which can complicate implementation.

CEELM: Looking forward, what do you anticipate for the energy sector? How do you think the industry will evolve over the next decade?

Dolea: The future is prominently renewable. We expect a tendency towards the reduction, albeit slow, of oil, electricity, and gas imports as we identify and develop local energy sources. This shift towards renewables, such as solar and wind, will likely dominate the landscape, reducing our dependency on imported energy and fostering a more sustainable and self-sufficient energy sector in Moldova.

Dolea & Co is CEE Legal Matters' Practice Leader for Energy in Moldova for 2024 – learn more here.

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ACI Partners is a leading law firm in Moldova with an expanding network of partners throughout Europe. ACI Partners was established in 2006 and since then has managed to build a very strong and competitive legal practice. Our business strategy strives to deliver a solid and reliable service, going beyond merely grasping the law, which the clients may turn to whenever they need. In reaching this goal, ACI Partners employs a personalized approach to each client, showing a genuine respect for their values and unqualified commitment to their interests and needs, steadily investing in knowledge and data management and ensuring a working environment consistent with our clients’ quality demands and high expectations.

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