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KIEV, July 09, /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine imported 329.3 million cubic metres of gas from Poland and Hungary in June, which represents a 20% (67 million cubic metres) decrease from the same period of last year, Ukrtransgaz said on Wednesday, July 9.
In May, Ukraine imported 200 million cubic metres from Europe.
In the first half of the current year, gas supplies from Europe decreased 14% (100 million cubic metres) year on year to about 600 million cubic metres.
In 2013, Ukraine imported 2.1 billion cubic metres of gas from Europe.
Ukraine has been receiving natural gas in reverse flows from Europe since November 1, 2012. The gas is supplied across the Ukrainian border with Poland under a contract with German RWE.
The gas is supplied across the Ukrainian border with Poland. Last year Naftogaz Ukrainy imported 55 million cubic metres of gas using the reverse flow scheme.
On May 15, Ukraine began importing gas from Slovakia.
EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger confirmed that the European Union was committed to reverse-flow gas supplies to Ukraine but this gas would be sold at market prices to be determined by the companies that sign relevant contracts.
Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Prodan said he was hopeful that “big reverse-flow supplies” would give Ukraine “up to 30 billion cubic metres a year”.
Oettinger’s spokesperson Sabine Berger said Ukraine could count on no more than 8 billion cubic metres of reverse-flow gas a year through Slovakia a part of the “minor reverse-flow scheme”. Gas will be supplied by the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline, not the transit pipeline.
As for the “big reverse-flow supplies” there is no concrete agreement yet as it would require Slovakia to agree to reverse the flow of gas by a trunk pipeline, which it is not prepared to do because this would run counter to its contract with Gazprom.
Oettinger said reverse-flow gas supplies from Slovakia to Ukraine by the trunk pipeline would be impossible without Gazprom’s consent as it would run counter to the Slovak company Eustream’s contractual obligations.
However he said such supplies by the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline would not require the Russian company’s agreement and would give Ukraine up to 10 billion cubic metres of a gas a year.
Oettinger believes that diversification of supplies will help to solve Ukraine’s gas problem in part. However reverse-flow supplies from Poland and Hungary by the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline will not be enough for Ukraine get through the coming winter comfortably.
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).
Gazprom said it might impose restrictions on European companies which supply gas to Ukraine using reverse-flow mechanisms.
“A reverse flow is a semi-fraudulent mechanism whereby gas runs in circles. But this is Russian gas,” Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said.
Miller said that the points where gas was delivered to and accepted by European consumers were located in Europe, but “Ukraine uses our gas [intended for Europe] on its territory any way it likes”.
“Reverse-flow gas supplies run counter to the contracts with European companies that buy Russian gas, and for that reason restrictions may be imposed on them,” Miller said.
In 2013, Ukraine consumed about 50 billion cubic metres of gas.
Ukrtransgaz is a leading 100% state-owned gas transportation and storage company in Ukraine. It has 14 subdivisions in all regions of the country. In 2013, the company transported 132 billion cubic metres of gas. The total length of its pipeline network is 38,900 kilometres. Ukrtransgaz has one of the biggest networks of underground storage facilities in Europe, with a combined capacity of 31 billion cubic metres.