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MOSCOW, September 18 (Itar-Tass) —— Laying of the South Stream gas pipeline via Ukraine is possible only if Gazprom or the international consortium control it fully, and no other variants may be considered, Deputy Chairman of Russia’s State Duma and Head of the Russian Gas Society Valery Yazev said on Friday.
“The South Stream pipeline is made to exclude risks of transit countries – and here one of the problems is Ukraine’s gas transporting system,” he said. “Years 2006 and 2007 have shown it clearly, as the transit between Gazprom and Naftogaz was interrupted.”
“That is why laying the pipeline via Ukraine would mean making the same mistake,” he added.
Yazev, who supervises energy issues at the lower chamber of the parliament, said that Yanukovich’s initiative “might have been realistic if it were an international gas pipeline managed by an international consortium.”
“Or if Gazprom were allowed to construct, like, say, via Belarus, a system of gas pipelines via the territory of Ukraine, where it manages and owns it,” he continued. “Any other options are no serious; they only increase Ukraine’s monopoly, raises risks for smooth supplies of gas from this country towards Europe.”
“For Europe, this would mean risks for its energy security,” he stressed. “That is why this variant, as Yanukovich has voiced it, seems absurd to me.”
Itar-Tass asked Yazev if he takes as realistic a variant, where Russia obtains the part of Ukraine’s gas transporting system, which might have integrated the South Stream’s part. Yazev did not rule out the opportunity, but stressed it may be possible only if “it is supported by intergovernmental agreements, if it is ruled by an international jurisdiction, and if there is Ukraine’s good will for it.” However, now, he continued, it is too late to discuss. “We have signed all necessary papers regarding South Stream, we have a vast package of documents with involved countries, companies; it is an international project, which may not depend on moods of the Ukrainian side.”
“South Stream will be done in time, as far as I can remember, in late 2015 gas should be delivered to the first line,” he added.
Commenting on recent statements from Ukrainian leaders in the context of their mood and the level of ‘constructiveness’, Yazev supposed that “life makes them look for any opportunity to have a constructive dialogue with Russia, with Gazprom.” At the same time, he noted that “we have made several major suggestions regarding integration of gas systems of Ukraine and Russia and in fact regarding the gas sectors, /but/ they are rather not being implemented now.” Moreover, “Ukraine has adopted the programme of the European energy partnership and implements the European Union’s legislation in energy into its own – including /the so called/ third energy package.”
“This impedes a lot the Russia-Ukraine energy cooperation and hindrances it,” Yazev said.