MOSCOW June 21 (Itar-Tass) - Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller met with Vladimir Semashko, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus, at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on Thursday, June 20.
The meeting addressed the issues of cooperation between Russia and Belarus in the gas sector. In particular, the discussion centered on the activities of Gazprom Transgaz Belarus, a subsidiary of Gazprom as well as the development of the Belarusian gas transmission system.
The parties paid special attention to the promising Yamal - Europe-2 project that would undergo a feasibility study prior to the end of the current year. It was emphasised that the project had a whole range of competitive advantages. For instance, phase one of the project in Belarus will only require reconstructing and upgrading the gas transmission capacities and this can be done within the shortest time possible, Gazprom said.
Russia’s Gazprom has capacities in Belarus to build the Yamal-Europe-2 gas pipeline quickly and at low cost, an expert said.
Sergei Pravosudov, Director of the National Energy Institute, told ITAR-TASS earlier that the Yamal-Europe gas pipeline had been designed with an extra capacity for a second string. Both the pipeline proper and booster stations can handle additional amounts of gas. Five hundred and seventy-five kilometers of the pipeline run across Belarus, complete with five booster stations. Gazprom is the sole owner of the Belarusian section of the pipeline.
Miller said Gazprom was studying different options for building the gas pipeline from Belarus and was aware that transit through Belarus by the Yamal-Europe pipeline was the most cost effective solution because Gazprom owns the pipeline facilities in Belarus.
President Vladimir Putin earlier asked Gazprom to return to the Yamal-Europe-2 gas pipeline project and assess again the possibility of implementing it.
“We have basically given up the Yamal-Europe-2 project in connection with Nord Stream and South Stream. We have practically started work under South Stream and I would like to ask you to return to the Yamal-Europe-2 project,” Putin said.
According to the president, the project will increase the reliability of gas supply to Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.
Miller agreed that the main reason for building the gas pipeline would be “reliability and stability of supplies to Central and Eastern Europe.”
This will be a new string bypassing Ukraine along its western border, which will basically leave the Ukrainian gas transportation system without Russian gas: South Stream will supply gas to southern Europe, Nord Stream to northern Europe, and Yamal-Europe-2 to Central Europe.
“Market analysis shows that we can supply 15 billion cubic metres of gas,” Miller said. Gazprom has had talks with Poland, Hungary and Slovakia at the corporate level. “We would be prepared to start drafting a feasibility study and begin pre-investment procedures,” Miller said.
Preliminary talks suggest that the project may be cost effective and can be implemented in 2018-2019.