Gas kulbits of Ukrainians

Europe risks remaining without the necessary gas volumes.
The Russian-Ukrainian agreement on gas transit to Europe, signed with Naftogaz in 2009, will expire soon. At the trilateral meeting in Brussels, no solution was found between the EU, Russia and Ukraine on the issue of a new transit agreement. And although European Commissioner for Energy Shevchovich actively offered options on transit parameters - both in terms of contract duration, and in terms of volumes and tariffs, Russia and Ukraine took a break.

It is obvious that Europe is interested in long-term and stable gas supplies. The current transit agreement with Ukraine expires at the end of the year. Meanwhile, Nordic Stream 2 will not be launched by that time, even if it is possible to complete the laying of the pipeline as planned - at the end of 2019.

The infrastructure of the GTS in Germany itself is simply not ready for the full load of SP-2 facilities. The “Eugal” gas pipeline, which is supposed to transport gas from the joint venture 2 from the Baltic coast to final consumers in the depth of Germany, will be completed, according to the most optimistic forecasts, no earlier than 2020 of the year.

Thus, a gap is formed in the power supply of Europe, which cannot be allowed. According to forecasts for the coming years, energy consumption and the demand for gas in Europe will continue to grow. SP-1 and SP-2 will not be able to fully cover these needs. It is also unclear when the Turkish Stream will be connected to the GTS of Southern Europe.

In this connection, transit through Ukraine has nothing to replace. European Commissioner Shevchovich wants to guarantee the transit of at least 10 years ahead. This will pay off European investments in the murdered Ukrainian GTS. For Ukraine, the continuation of transit is cost-effective. However, they have no political will to compromise. In the election campaign Poroshenko puts on aggressive nationalism, in connection with which any concessions to Russia will reduce his and so small chances to sit at his post. Instead of searching for a compromise, Naftogaz is trying to put pressure on Gazprom through lawsuits. In the summer, as you know, they sued $ 12 billion for “too low a transit price.”

Judicial blackmail

Earlier, the Stockholm arbitration court awarded Ukraine $ 2.6 billions of compensation for “too high gas prices.” That is, they want by blackmail to bargain for themselves more favorable terms of the new transit agreement. The head of Naftogaz, Vitrenko, said that if Russia agrees to conclude an agreement for the next 15 years, then they are ready to reduce the amount of claims to $ 2 billion. If Russia does not agree, then it will have to pay more compensation.

As Energy Minister Novak responded, the position of the respected Ukrainian partners with their new lawsuit is absurd. Russia does not recognize either a lawsuit or the fact that this lawsuit is somehow linked to transit negotiations. Russia will only then intend to discuss the new conditions when all legal claims are resolved.

In contrast to 2009, Russia is the least interested in some long-term liabilities. Although Russia proposed to extend the existing transit agreement, but refused to prescribe any fixed volumes of supplies.

The Kremlin plans to replace the Ukrainian transit with the Turkish stream soon. Last week, the president discussed this issue in Serbia.

Europe should not expect a quick resolution of the transit issue. The next round of talks is scheduled for May, and by that time Ukraine will have elections. Even if the president changes there, a more adequate position of the Ukrainians is not predicted. Even if Mrs. Tymoshenko comes.

Meanwhile, Europe is running out of time to find a solution for the transit of gas.


Anton Bennen

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