Gazprom did not Increase Gas Pumping Through the Ukrainian Pipe
Gazprom has shown character. The Russian corporation did not increase fuel pumping through the Ukrainian pipe, Vedomosti reports. Although, due to the decision of the European Court, the company had to reduce the volumes going through the Opal gas pipeline.
Opal is an onshore continuation of the first Nord Stream. Previously, Gazprom could load it at full capacity, but now the court has banned it. And all this is happening ahead of negotiations between Russia, Ukraine and the EU. They will be held on September 19th.
Gazprom lifted an abandoned glove. The European court has banned loading the Opal gas pipeline at full capacity. The Russian corporation has implemented the decision. In theory, in order to maintain supply volumes, Gazprom had to increase pumping through the Ukrainian pipe. But Moscow did not do this.
In fact, what is happening and resembles a duel. More precisely, preparation for it. On Thursday, September 19, trilateral gas negotiations between Russia, Ukraine and Europe will take place. Probably not the last this year, because there is no compromise even in the bud.
The main issue is Ukrainian transit. Europe insists that Russia should continue to pump gas through the Ukrainian pipe. Moscow, in general, agrees, but the whole thing is volume. We want to pump as little as possible. Ukraine wants as much as possible because it is billions of dollars in transit fees.
EU leaders, such as Germany, are interested in gas bypassing Ukraine, it is more reliable. But in words everyone speaks of diversification and energy security. And time is running out. And if for the few remaining months the parties do not agree, it is possible that gas crises of past years will be repeated.
At ten in the morning on January 1, the transit contract will expire. What will happen if no compromise is reached, argues Konstantin Simonov, Director General of the National Energy Security Fund.
“If Gazprom demonstrates adherence to principles, it means that it should survive the winter heating season without Ukrainian transit. Ukraine, showing integrity, should live without $ 2.5 billion a year. True, there is another point there, connected not only with money, because Ukraine is so proudly declaring that it uses reverse gas. But in reality, we are well aware that transit gas is often used for consumption in Ukraine. This is such a classic story, when the parties go ahead, each one has certain trump cards, but a head-on collision is a very unpleasant story. ”
Russia, of course, does not need such an outcome. Because the complete cessation of transit is a good argument for the opponents of Gazprom. They, as during past crises, will say that Moscow is an unreliable supplier of gas, so no one wants aggravation.
“Nord Stream – 2”, which will make it possible to do without Ukraine at all, is likely to be completed by January, but it will take time to fully launch it, so you need to agree. Perhaps, if the upcoming negotiations do not at least fail, then Gazprom will make concessions and some of the gas that has ceased to go via Opal will go through the Ukrainian transport system.
But for this we need other parties to make concessions by agreeing on the amount of transit that will suit Russia. At the same time, Europe will also have to save face, convince itself and others that Gazprom is not abusing its monopoly position as a fuel supplier.