Deliveries of Russian gas to European consumers may be completely stopped if Ukraine will take unauthorized selection of transit fuel. On 16 December, during the visit of the Russian delegation in Tokyo said the head of «Gazprom» Alexey Miller.
That such risks are real, and Kiev may again resort to the already well-established practices of unlawful confiscation, Miller has no doubts. Proof, according to him, made before the statement of the head of Ukrainian of «Naftogaz» Andrew Kobolyev that the company has no plans to buy Russian gas «before the end of winter.»
In this regard, the question arises: how then Kiev is going to survive this winter, which — according to long-term weather forecasts — promises to be even colder than the previous two? Until the end of December in Kiev, for example, the weatherman give a forecast sub-zero with night frosts to — 10.
Meanwhile, as noted by the head of «Gazprom», so little gas in underground storage of Ukraine on the eve of cold weather was never. Moreover, according to him, Russia knows how much fuel to Ukraine in case of severe cold. And «when the going gets cold, Ukraine has never been without Russian gas.»
There is a dilemma: pay is not going to Kiev. But without fuel is unlikely.
That’s why Miller believes is a realistic scenario that Ukraine will resort to the practice of unauthorized sampling of gas, which — of course — will lead to problems with supplies to Europe. As in full compliance with the current contract, delivery from Russia in this case can be completely stopped.
How such a rotation is possible? And what in this case is in danger of Russia, «SP» said a leading expert of the national energy security Fund Igor Yushkov:
The situation is indeed very tense. And Miller is right about the Ukrainian reserves at the beginning of the heating season, they had a historic low. Never Ukraine was not part of the winter with such low figures — 14.5 billion cubic meters. Moreover, to use these reserves, they began earlier than in the previous two years.
Last year the winter has been accumulated somewhere in the $ 17.5 billion cubic meters, but still 2 billion to Kiev I had to buy in October — November from Russia.
That is now in the Ukrainian underground gas storages are much smaller.
Clearly, they hoped to «slip» due to the fact that the industry is effectively dead, and people are starting to save due to the fact that the tariffs for heat and hot water is greatly raised. However, this calculation was done as time of the warm winter, the same as in the previous few years. It’s October, November and December showed a temperature lower than in previous years. And then — there is a big chance the frost will grow stronger.
Accordingly, their calculation has not justified. That’s why I think they return to tripartite negotiations EU — Russia — Ukraine. First for them have been unsuccessful. Now preparing for the second. And declare that «we till the end of December to buy gas from Russia will not. Us there still are not satisfied».
«SP»: — will Not — and God is with them. Why is it so worried about Gazprom?
— Because Ukraine is, in fact, already legally prepared documents to justify the illegal gas extraction. They sent Gazprom a fine of about $ 6.6 billion (supposedly the Russian company has violated antitrust laws), and reaffirmed its judicial decision that may be subject to forced recovery of property «Gazprom» in Ukraine.
What kind of property? This is the gas that passes through the pipeline. He changes ownership — i.e., becomes European gas, only in Austria. And in Ukraine it is like a property of «Gazprom». That is what they will take.
Therefore Miller correctly is worried that the illegal selection of gas will be. But illegal it is, of course, not from the point of view of Ukraine. They just prepared a legal justification in the form of a fine.
And the fact that they lay at the end of winter the purchase of Russian gas, is also quite unpleasant for us. Because there will need to negotiate again all the controversies. As Kiev is constantly put forward any additional requirements, including those associated with payment.
Although, pay the money, and you will come to gas. Under the contract between «Naftogaz» and «Gazprom» we must provide Ukraine with gas for the amount that they will pay.
Another thing is that with the new year they have the situation will be more difficult.
«SP»: — Explain.
Difficult, as in the first quarter of 2017, in accordance with the current contract, the Russian gas for Ukraine will rise. The price of gas, as you know, is tied to oil prices with a lag of six months. If summer oil cost about thirty to forty dollars a barrel, already in the beginning of next year the gas price will be calculated on the assumption that oil prices in autumn rose, came nearer to fifty dollars
Accordingly, the gas will rise. And Ukraine will again lament that «Russia is deliberately pushes us into such a situation. We are ready to buy, and they lift up the price». Although this is only pricing.
«SP»: — Miller goes to the interruption of supply?
It is quite possible. Not the threat of unauthorized selection. And when this selection will occur. And I think that «Gazprom» it is not just make. It is one more week to wait.
That is, will begin illegal seizure of gas — it’s all recorded — will be invited European observers to the Russian gas compressor station. And accordingly, the request to grant them access to the Ukrainian station. And if the volume of the gas at the entrance to Ukraine and exit from Ukraine will be different, it means that somewhere along the way it is taken. In other words — stealing.
In this case, who is risking more? I think to a greater extent Ukraine.
In 2009, when there was a similar situation, and the transit was stopped, then all claims got «Gazprom». The essence of these claims was reduced to a simple logic — they say, «you have to put fuel in Austria. And we don’t care what the path is lost. We have the contract stipulates that the point of acceptance — the Austrian hub in Baumgarten. No gas means you didn’t fulfill the contract. Please, pay the penalty».
Now the situation is completely different. Now the Europeans themselves are responsible for what is happening in Ukraine. They brought to power those people who began to conduct anti-Russian policy, including in the energy sector. And they participated in the negotiations, heard all the arguments of the Russian side. All the arguments of the Ukrainian side. Plus they are both positions now know, thanks to the fact that the parties had submitted all their documents to the Stockholm arbitration.
So here is to blame everything on Russia will not work. And if they still interrupted supply, all writes that Ukraine is an unreliable transit country.
«SP»: — What does this mean for Kiev?
— First of all, nobody will ever put a spoke in the wheel of «Gazprom» for the construction of bypass pipelines «Northern stream-2» and «Turkish stream». Accordingly, these projects will be implemented. And Ukraine will lose its status as a transit country, and somewhere two to three billion dollars a year. And it is very big money for Ukraine.
«SP»: — But the transit contract with Ukraine and it ends at the end of 2019. On this, do you think a «gas war» with Kiev over? Us or them «gave»?
— I think, over. After all, conflict arises when one side wants to use their status in order to obtain certain privileges. For example, cheaper gas… etc. etc. And as soon as you cease to depend on each other, respectively, are set fully market relations.
Now we are dependent in terms of transit from Kiev. In 2015, for example, through Ukraine passed 67 billion. And neither one billion cubic meters, we could not jibe with this direction. Alternative routes loaded to the max, and everything else — through Ukraine.
And now even more than seventy billion cubic meters will pass.
When such an acute situation, we will be able to put the question bluntly: do you want to buy Russian gas — please do not buy. To blackmail you, nothing more Russia can not. Buy in Europe. Other countries do it. The same Lithuania refused from the Russian gas and buys half as much liquefied natural gas — and nothing. And Poland, for example, buys from «Gazprom», and long-term contract is twice as expensive as Qatar.
There is always an alternative.
Therefore, Ukraine can also buy reversible Russian gas from Europe. Maybe directly from Gazprom. But I think, when will this our «transit link» and you can no longer blackmail Russia, Ukraine immediately there will be a restructuring of «Naftogaz».
That is, allocate the pipe — it will be left in the hands of the state, and all the rest sell out to private companies. And these private companies will buy gas in Europe, and in Russia — and they will deliver. Might just be short-term contracts. But they will all without reference to the transit.
We will remind that from 25 November 2015 Ukraine buys gas from Russia (the contract with «Gazprom» it was not satisfied with the price and terms of payment) when purchasing fuel in Europe. Today he enters the «independence» of Slovakia, Hungary and Poland. Moreover, this gas is Russian, too, only the reverse — costing the Kiev is much more expensive — $ 200-220 per thousand cubic meters. And «Gazprom» suggested to 167.6 dollar.
Gas tariffs for the population, meanwhile, is growing by leaps and bounds. So, according to the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, reminds Politnavigator news Agency, may 1, citizens already pay for gas at the same rate as other customers is approximately $ 270. per cubic meter. The last time gas prices increased by 91%. In 2017 they promise to grow another 25%.