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Suspension of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine not to affect Czech Republic

June 16, 2014, 20:51 UTC+3 PRAGUE
Russia’s Gazprom said it was planning to increase the flow of gas by the Nord Stream pipeline to reduce the risk of undersupply to Europe due to possible restrictions against Ukraine
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PRAGUE, June 16, 19:48 /ITAR-TASS/. The commissioning of the Nord Stream gas pipeline has made it possible for the Czech Republic to receive gas not only via Ukraine but also from Germany, thus giving it “a strategic advantage”, Miloslav Zaur, chairman of the Union of Czech Gas Operators, said on Monday, June 16.

“The new diversified gas supplies from the north give the Czech Republic strategic advantages, which makes the current situation different from that in 2009,” he said.

Zaur’s opinion that the suspension of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine will not affect gas deliveries to the Czech Republic is also shared by the top management of the German gas operator RWE.

RWE spokesperson Martin Halupski said the company’s underground gas storage facilities were 70% filled.

Another Czech gas operator, Skupina MND, said its storage facilities were 90% filled with gas and could guarantee gas supplies to all consumers without any restrictions.

Back in May, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka said his country was ready for the termination of Russian gas supplies to Ukraine but said it was necessary to “manifest solidarity with such neighbouring states as Slovakia and Hungary”. “Those countries depend in a high degree on the supply (of gas) via Ukraine. The Czech Republic, due to a sufficiently high extent of diversification of the transit of gas and due to its own reserves, is prepared for a contingency that the deliveries of gas via Ukraine will be terminated,” Sobotka explained.

Russia’s Gazprom said it was planning to increase the flow of gas by the Nord Stream pipeline to reduce the risk of undersupply to Europe due to possible restrictions against Ukraine.

Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said the company would also pump more gas into underground gas storage facilities in Europe to avoid shortages of fuel for European consumers in the coming period.

Infographics Russian gas in Europe Russian gas in Europe
One-third of gas consumed in EU comes from Russia. Infographics ITAR-TASS
Gazprom has the reputation of a reliable partner of European buyers of Russian gas and will continue to supply gas for Europe in full amounts to the border with Ukraine, the CEO said.

The Nord Stream pipeline transported 23.77 billion cubic metres of natural gas in 2013, Gazprom said.

In the third quarter of 2013, the pipeline carried 5 billion cubic metres of gas.

The income of the pipeline operator, Nord Stream, in the first nine months of last year dropped by 41.3% to 2.21 billion roubles versus 3.761 billion roubles in 2012.

Gazprom owns a 51% stake in Nord Stream Company.


Nord Stream pipeline

The Nord Stream gas pipeline is a fundamentally new route for Russian gas exports to Europe. The target markets for gas supplies via Nord Stream are Germany, Great Britain, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and others.

The new gas pipeline is extremely significant for meeting the increasing natural gas demand in the European market. Gas imports to the EU are anticipated to grow in the coming decade by nearly 200 billion cubic meters or more than 50 per cent. Due to a direct connection between the world’s largest gas reserves located in Russia and the European gas transmission system, Nord Stream will be able to satisfy about 25% of this extra demand for imported gas.

Nord Stream links Russia’s Baltic Sea coast near Vyborg with Germany’s Baltic Sea coast in the vicinity of Greifswald. The pipeline is 1,224 kilometres long.

Nord Stream receives natural gas from the Unified Gas Supply System of Russia.

The Yuzhno-Russkoye oil and gas field will be a key resource base for gas supplies via the pipeline. The Nord Stream will also export gas from the Yamal Peninsula, Ob and Taz Bays, Shtokman field.

The Nord Stream project is implemented by Nord Stream AG, a joint venture set up for designing, constructing and further operating the offshore pipeline.

At present, the Nord Stream AG shareholding structure is as follows: Gazprom (51%), Wintershall Holding (BASF subsidiary) and E. ON Ruhrgas (15.5% each), Gasunie and GDF Suez (9% each).

The Nord Stream’s first string with the throughput of 27.5 billion cubic metres of gas a year was commissioned on November 8, 2011. Commercial supplies of Russian gas to the European Union via Nord Stream’s first string started on that very day.

The annual gas throughput of Nord Stream will be 55 billion cubic metres after its two strings reach their design capacity.

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