Photo: Oleg Yakovlev / RBC
According to the head of “Gazprom”, starting in 2020 the volume of transit of Russian gas through Ukraine may be approximately 15 billion cubic meters per year
Gazprom is considering the possibility of preservation of Russian gas transit to EU countries through Ukraine’s territory after 2019, when it will expire the validity of a previously signed contract, said in an interview with Reuters, the head of the concern Alexey Miller. But the volume of this transit, according to Miller, will decrease sharply.
“As for transit through Ukraine after January 2020, we have already stated that it is willing to negotiate… another thing is that speech can go only about lower volumes. Somewhere around 15 billion cubic meters of gas per year, and these volumes are intended for countries that border with Ukraine,” — said Miller.
In 2016, the volume of transit of Russian gas to Europe via the territory of Ukraine grew by 23%. For the year through pipelines of the company “Ukrtransgaz” in the EU reached 82.2 billion cubic meters against 67,1 billion cubic meters in 2015. In the first quarter of 2017 the volume of gas transit through Ukraine grew annually by 20%, for the three months through Ukrainian pipelines was transported 23.2 billion cubic meters of Russian gas.
However, to support such targets after completion of the gas pipeline “Nord stream-2”, by which gas can be pumped directly to Germany, Gazprom considered unreasonable.
“If you look at the picture from space, Greifswald is just a straight line through the Baltic sea from new fields… This route for two thousand kilometers shorter than through Ukraine,” explained Miller in an interview with Reuters.
He also noted that Ukraine is decades not invested in modernization of pipelines, so the new route will be “environmentally safer”.
The construction of “Nord stream-2” to begin in 2018, and its launch is scheduled for late 2019. The total capacity of the two pipelines, which will run from the Russian coast under the Baltic sea to Germany, must be 55 billion cubic meters of gas per year.
On the eve of April 24, it became known that the subsidiary of “Gazprom” company 2 the Nord Stream AG (the operator of the pipeline “Nord stream-2”) was signed by five European companies — the French Engie, Austrian OMV, Anglo-Dutch Royal Dutch Shell and German Wintershall and Uniper — agreement on financing construction of the “Nord stream-2”. Under the agreements, each of the five companies have pledged to invest up to €950 million.
In the middle of 2016 Miller explained the intention to abandon the gas transit to Europe via Ukraine of its excessive cost.
“Transport fare “Nord stream-2″ is $2.1 per thousand cubic meters on 100 km, and the transport rate through Ukraine with $2.5,” said Miller, noting that in the case of modernization of Ukrainian pipelines, the rate will increase to $4.6 per thousand cubic meters.
According to the Miller, the transit of gas through its own pipeline Gazprom “Nord stream-2” in the next 25 years to earn an additional $25-43 billion.
In Ukraine, the Gazprom’s plans to redirect the focus on the “Nord stream-2” cause of great concern. In the fall of 2015 holding then a post of the Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has estimated the losses of the country in the event of termination of Russian gas transit at $2 billion a year. With harsh criticism of the project was made by representatives of other transit countries, including the President of Poland Andrzej Duda (according to him, the pipeline not only has the energy security of Poland and Ukraine, but also poses a threat to European unity) and Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert fico, accused the European supporters of the “Northern stream” in the betrayal.
In August 2016, who was then Vice-President of the USA Joseph Biden called the agreement “Gazprom” with the energy companies in the European Union “bad deal” for Europe as a whole.
In early 2017, the head of the NJSC “Naftogaz of Ukraine” Andrey KOBOLEV has acknowledged that to maintain transit through Ukraine would be “very difficult” because “on the other hand there is a very powerful opponent” who “actually makes the Europeans very interesting proposal.”
“We urge our European partners to try to look not on immediate consequences, and one step forward, what will happen later, after the Nord Stream-2 will be launched,” he said. KOBOLEV noted that the new line of gas supplies to Europe may lead to termination of gas transportation through Ukraine, leaving Europe dependent on Russia.