Ukraine to Improve Storage Terms, Transparency
Ukraine’s energy regulator has published draft changes to the country's gas storage rulebook after discussions with the European Commission and is consulting on them until March 13.
With over 30bn m³ of working capacity at its disposal, half of which has not been booked in recent years, Ukraine's state-owned operator has more on offer than any other country, and it could be a cheap way of lowering peak gas prices in the continent, although it would spell bad news for beleaguered operators in other European countries who are writing down the value of their assets. A number of European Union companies have already progressed some way with Ukrtransgaz on booking capacity.
The changes extend to new tariffs for the three services available: storage, injection and capacity.
The regulator says that the draft is aimed at non-discriminatory and more efficient use of gas storage capacities both by its operator and customers, including the right for capacity holders to trade gas in store with each other without paying for injection and withdrawal; and also without paying VAT, depending on the applicable customs regime.
It's all about energy security
But the new rules also mean that a customer may not leave gas in store once the contract has expired without incurring further costs. The new draft also requires the operator to offer month-ahead and day-ahead service, but also obliges the customer to pay in advance or risk losing it.
The operator will be able to distribute up to 90% of technical capacity, and reserve at least 10% for monthly periods. It will also have to publish much more information than at present on its website. It will include day ahead capacity, monthly injection and withdrawal curves, historical data about storage (injection, withdrawal) services, schedule of planned activities in the storage, information about transactions in gas stored at the storage.
UkrTransgaz remains a part of the state-owned gas supply and trading business, with unbundling to happen only after the conclusion of a series of arbitration cases between Gazprom and Ukraine. Decisions on ship-or-pay contract and take-or-pay contract disputes, being heard at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, are due in a few months.