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Gazprom CEO says reverse gas flow from Europe to Ukraine disputable

April 05, 2014, 20:19 UTC+3 MOSCOW
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MOSCOW, April 05. /ITAR-TASS/. Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said reverse gas supplies from Europe to Ukraine would be a debatable issue.

“If one looks at the map of the Ukrainian gas transportation system, he will easily understand that the system is designed to operate in one direction only and there is no technical possibility to reverse it,” Miller told Rossiya 24 television channel on Saturday, April 5.

“If this is some virtual reverse flow, there can be questions about its legality. It’s unclear what grounds Ukraine has to use Gazprom’s gas in the pipeline on its territory. This may raise legal questions,” he said.

Ukraine’s acting Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan said earlier this week that reverse supplies would allow the country to import 7-10 billion cubic meters of gas from Europe.

Ukraine may get up to 20 billion cubic metres of gas from Europe annually, parliament-appointed Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk said at a government meeting on Saturday.

“I have contacted our European and American partners on several issues. One is reverse gas flows. Technically, we can receive up to 20 billion cubic metres [of gas from Europe],” he said.

According to Yatsenyuk, it is less costly for Ukraine to buy gas from Europe because it is “100-150 U.S. dollars cheaper than the Russian gas”.

He recalled that Kiev had signed a memorandum with Europe on the mondernisation of the Ukrainian gas transportation system and Ukraine was now considering “joint modernisation and operation” of the system with Europe and American investors.

Prodan and Naftogaz Ukrainy’s new CEO Andrei Kobolev will travel to Brussels on April 8 to discuss this and other energy issues.

The Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) countries said in late February 2014 they were ready to resume the reverse flow of natural gas to Ukraine.

“In the field of energy security, the Visegrad countries are ready to resume and develop the reverse flow of natural gas supplies to Ukraine,” the four countries said in a joint statement.

In January, Ukraine signed a document on reverse gas supplies through Slovakia and sent it to Bratislava which has not signed it yet. The agreement has to be approved by the European Commission.

Ukraine has been pressing for the reverse gas flow through Slovakia for more than a year. Volumes may reach up to ten billion cubic metres a year. The move was prompted by high gas prices charged by Russia’s Gazprom. Ukraine started buying natural gas in Europe in November 2012 and suggested signing a contract for gas supplies in the amount of seven billion cubic metres a year through Hungary and Slovakia while reducing its purchases from Russia to 20 billion cubic metres. Currently, Ukraine gets gas in reverse mode through Hungary.

The European Union has promised assistance to Ukraine in diversifying natural gas supplies.

Kiev is planning to buy about 290 million cubic metres of gas in Europe in reverse mode (about 140 million cubic metres will be delivered through Poland and the rest through Hungary).

Ukraine has been receiving natural in reverse flows from Europe since November 1, 2012. The gas is supplied across the Ukrainian border with Poland under a contract with from German RWE.

The gas is supplied across the Ukrainian border with Poland. RWE planned to supply up to 5 billion cubic metres of gas to Ukraine until May 2013. Last year Naftogaz Ukrainy imported 55 million cubic metres of gas using the reverse flow scheme.

The throughput capacity of the Ukrainian gas transportation is 288 billion cubic metres system at the entrance and 178.5 billion cubic meters at the exit, including 142.5 billion cubic metres to European countries and 3.5 billion cubic metres to Moldova. Natural gas transit through Ukraine to Europe and CIS countries in 2011 increased by 5.7 percent from 2010 to 104,197,067,000 cubic metres, including to Western Europe by 5.9 percent to 101,098,013,000 cubic metres, but decreased by 2.4 percent to 3,099,054,000 cubic metres to CIS countries.

Ukraine’s gas transportation system consists of 72 compressor stations, 110 production shops and 1,451 gas distribution stations. The overall length of gas pipelines operated by the company is 38,600 kilometres, including 22,200 kilometres of trunk pipelines and 16,400 kilometres of extensions.

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