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Ukraine has to store three billion m3 of gas to secure itself from Russia, - Naftogaz Head

Source : 112 Ukraine

Russia can completely stop the gas transit through Ukraine to see what will happen
15:17, 20 March 2019

Andry Kobolev, the Head of Naftogaz-Ukraine
RBK-Ukraine

Ukraine needs to spare for three billion cubes of gas more than usual to secure itself in case of the complete stop of the gas transit through the Ukrainian gas-transporting system by Russia as RBK-Ukraine reported citing Head of Naftogaz-Ukraine Andry Kobolev.

“We conducted the evaluation of what we need to get through the toughest variant. To survive this winter, we need to pump the gas for three billion cubes more than we usually do to the underground storage sites (it means about 20 billion cubic meters). Then we will say: “The Russians against the threat with the provocation but Ukraine is provided with gas,” Kobolev said.

He added that in case of the gas deficit in the neighboring countries, there is a risk that they will “turn off the faucet” and we should be prepared for it.

“We also work on a few additional options, but it is the confidential information,” Kobolev added.

Related: How could gas price decrease in Ukraine?

Head of Naftogaz-Ukraine predicts that the decision on the extension or non-extension of the gas transit through Ukraine will be made by President of Russia Vladimir Putin.

“I hope that Nord Stream 2 will not be built until the beginning of the year and even the main stage of the construction will not be started. How does Putin usually achieve his goals? By carrot or stick. He gave a lot of carrot in this situation and it is time to get the stick. It means the complete stop of the gas transit through the territory of Ukraine. In other words, it means to repeat the 2003 situation and see what will happen,” Kobolev said.

Then, according to him, a lot of things will depend on the reaction of the EU states; they can pay attention to the supply of the liquefied gas from the U.S. or say “it is all gone” and provide the permission for the construction not only of the Nord Stream 2 but all interceptor gas pipelines necessary for its work.

“If a person in Russia, who will make the decision on the further transit through Ukraine, sees 20 billion cubic meters of gas in our underground storage sites and LNG-gas floating from the U.S. to Europe, then the high probability exists that he would not like to lose his reputation if he did not achieve the desired effect. In other words, pumping an extra three billion, we buy the insurance. The gas is the asset; it will not be lost but it should be stored,” Kobolev concluded.

Related: Peace in Donbas, tariffs, gas transit: what else “Opposition platform – For life” party discussed at their meeting

He expressed the conviction that in case of the absence of such “insurance” Ukraine will face a great challenge.

Gazprom and its partners intended to begin the realization of the Nord Stream 2 project, which costs ten billion dollars. It is expected that the 1200 km gas pipeline will be laid through the Baltic Sea, and will connect Russia and Germany passing Ukraine, Poland, and Baltic countries. The capacity of the gas pipeline will be twice increased than the first Nord Stream. The construction is estimated to be completed by the end of 2019.

Russian president Putin claimed that the Russian Federation was ready to save the gas transit through Ukraine after the launch of the Nord Stream 2.

Related: Ukraine's Cabinet vs. Naftogaz: Who to become new gas monopolist?

Besides, Yuriy Vitrenko, Naftogaz Ukraine CEO said that if Ukraine does not sign a contract on Russian gas transit until 2020, it will lose around $3 million per year.

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