Gazprom's tricks with gas supplies to Ukraine

Author : Gennady Kobal

Source : 112 Ukraine

Russian Gazprom's refusal to supply gas to Ukraine could cause a deficit of 10 million cubic meters per day
11:32, 5 March 2018

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Due to several serious factors, Naftogaz has called on the Ukrainians to reduce gas consumption. As the head of a state-owned company, Andriy Kobolev said, Russian Gazprom's refusal to supply gas to Ukraine could cause a deficit of 10 million cubic meters per day (due to the frosty weather in Ukraine). Naftogaz was going to buy from Russia 18-20 million cubic meters per day, and only about half of this volume could be covered by the imports from the EU, Kobolev said. In addition, Gazprom reduced the pressure on the Russian section of the GTS by 20%, and now Naftogaz needs to spend more gas to maintain normal pressure and continue the transit. There is enough gas in underground gas storage facilities. However, the volume that could be raised from these facilities should not exceed the limit. If now there were 15 billion cubic meters of gas, it would be possible to raise 150 million cubic meters per day. But currently, there are 10 billion cubic meters, so we can raise less gas.

Related: Gas pipeline burning in Russia

Kobolev's statement on reverse deliveries is not connected with physical capabilities to pump volumes. Rather it contributes to the price, which is higher due to the abnormally cold weather in Europe. Due to frosts, spot gas prices in Europe are now at least three times higher than usual. Of course, Russian gas would be much cheaper. Now the price reaches 500-600 euros for 1 thousand cubic meters vs. 190 euros. However, this would last for 2-3 days, and the temperature will decline, and the prices will return to the previous or even lower level.

Related: Naftogaz prevents Russia's attempt to start gas crisis

It is not the first time when Gazprom tricks us. For example,  January 1, 2006, it has left Ukraine without gas. And after that, there were different situations, connected with a decrease in pressure, which was quite deliberate.

The current situation will be settled as soon as the temperature rises at least 5 degrees. But if the situation drags on... Under Yulia Tymoshenko, when the similar situation happened, the big industrial facilities were simply cut out of gas or its supply was reduced. And this scenario can happen again if the abnormally cold weather does not go away. We have Ukrtransgaz, which can do many things in a manual mode: some major industrial enterprises are directly connected to its main pipelines. National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine has enough tools to influence the situation.

However, I believe this is unlikely. The temperature will rise, and in 2-3 days the problem will be solved by itself. But if such a situation occurred in December or January, there could be a catastrophe. We are very lucky that it is March now.

Related: Poland: No failure of gas supplies through Ukraine

Regretfully, I can only say that Russians now have a unique opportunity to sell gas to Europe. However, instead of using it, they play similar games. They have a surplus of gas, and they kill themselves biting the hand that feeds. Their image is quite tarnished, but they continue to damage it more and more. Apparently, Gazprom is simply mad about the decision of the Stockholm arbitration on the transit contract.

Related: Poroshenko: situation with gas in Ukraine stabilized

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