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MOSCOW, June 10. /TASS/. After 2019, when the gas transit agreement with the Ukrainian side expires, Gazprom will not in any circumstances pump natural gas to Europe via Ukraine, ‘even if the Sun and the Moon change their places,’ Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said on Tuesday.
Gazprom Chief Alexey Miller earlier said Gazprom would be able to fully cease gas transit via Ukraine by building the Turkish Stream gas pipeline. Experts say this is not an easy task: Gazprom will have to lay new gas pipelines over four years and also conclude new long-term contracts with European partners.
Gazprom Deputy CEO Medvedev has said the Russian energy giant has not yet held negotiations with European consumers on transferring gas delivery/acceptance points because it is unclear which routes will be used for delivery.
‘We’ll build the Turkish Stream but will wait for proposals from the European side on what to do further with this gas because we don’t want to breach energy packages," he added.
Gazprom has contracts signed with some countries until 2035. These contracts designate the gas delivery and acceptance points. Sometimes these are gas distribution hubs and sometimes gas metering stations immediately after the Ukrainian border," Nezavisimaya Gazeta daily quoted Mikhail Krutikhin, partner of RusEnergy consulting firm, as saying.
"That is why, if Gazprom gives up the Ukrainian transit, it will have to do two things for the observance of long-term contracts: to persuade European partners to change these formulations in the contracts and convince them to build infrastructure for gas delivery from the Turkish-Greek border," the expert said.
Now that Gazprom and Ukraine’s Naftogaz are embroiled in litigation at the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal over the terms of the transit agreement, it is difficult to imagine negotiations between them on transit deliveries from 2020, Chief Adviser to the Director General of the Analytical Center for the Russian Government Leonid Grigoryev told TASS.
"Gazprom runs high risks and has made a decision on using the Turkish Stream to deliver the gas currently transited via Ukraine and this is a large part of the gas supplied to European consumers under contracts," the expert said.
As for the routes of gas delivery to consumers, this issue should be depoliticized, he added.
"If politics is excluded, then the route is Gazprom’s business. The task of how to connect the Turkish Stream with Austria in the area of Istanbul and the Bosporus Strait is a technical problem and the issue of investments," the expert said.
The expert community has long been discussing the expedience of building a gas hub at the border between Turkey and Greece, Deputy Head of the Faculty of World Economy and World Politics at the Higher School of Economics Andrei Suzdaltsev said.
"No one can guarantee that Europe would rush to build its own infrastructure to the hub. And what if the gas pipeline is built but no one would make connection to it? Europe has a tough stance on attempts to enter the European market ‘from the back door,'" the expert said.
There are no doubts that the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline will begin, he added. "But it is not clear whether it will end, considering that Turkey depends on the US and the EU, although it is surely a more reliable partner than Ukraine," the expert said.
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