CHISINAU, Moldova, Aug. 27 (UPI) -- The European energy commissioner said Tuesday the first direct natural gas connection between the EU and Moldova will enhance the country's energy security.
European Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger joined Romanian Prime Minister Victor Ponta and Moldova's Prime Minister Iurie Leanca for a ceremony inaugurating the Romanian-Moldavian gas pipeline
The 26-mile interconnector is the first and only direct natural gas pipeline linking Moldova to the European Union. The so-called Ungheni-Iasi pipeline has a maximum transportation capacity of 35 billion cubic feet per year.
Moldova secures about 30 percent of its annual natural gas needs from the EU through the pipeline. Until now, the country relied on Russia for 100 percent of its natural gas needs.
"This is a historic day -- we are celebrating that Moldova will be directly connected to the EU gas market," Oettinger said in a statement Tuesday. "This will enhance its energy security and reduce its dependence from the only supplier it has now."
More than 80 miles of pipeline will stretch from the interconnector to deliver gas to Moldova's capital, Chisinau.