Gazprom denies offering gas to Ukraine for more transit
Naftogaz Ukrainy CEO Yuri Vitrenko has dismissed Gazprom's offer to continue using Ukrainian transit in exchange for what he termed "loss-making" gas purchases.
He told Ukraine Today July 24 that Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller had said transit volumes would be ensured and even increased if Ukraine bought more gas. But Gazprom, in a rare comment on the transit situation with Ukraine, denied making such an offer in a July 24 statement.
"We would like to point out that no one was offering Russian gas to Ukraine . [CEO] Alexei Miller's comment... was addressed to our partners from the European Union, primarily German ones," the pipeline export monopoly said.
"The comment was about the volumes of transit through Ukraine after 2024 corresponding to the new volumes of Russian gas purchased by EU companies under new contracts. It was also about our concerns related to the decarbonisation of the EU economy in this regard.”
The five-year transit agreement binding Ukraine and Russia ends in 2024. There is a lot of uncertainty about how much gas Russia will want to transport through Ukraine from 2025, in light of Nord Stream 2, on which the US and Germany reached agreement July 22.
The Nord Stream 2 pipeline needs certification before it can start deliveries, but the agreement accepts the line will go ahead while making very few demands of Germany beyond its NATO obligations. It will be difficult for both Nord Stream 1 and 2 to operate at their combined 110bn m³/yr, following the Court of Justice of the EU's ruling that confirms Gazprom's loss of capacity in OPAL. Russia has not introduced any measures such as a gas release programme required for it it conform to the EU gas market rules on competition. The gas that would otherwise flow through OPAL is now flowing through EUGAL.
Also in his interview, Vitrenko said that Ukraine was now in credit, in that it paid less for all its gas imports from European markets than it was paid for transit. "We do not need any agreements that will lead to money flowing from Ukraine into Russia," he said.
He also reminded his audience of Russia's unreliability, in the light of the 1994 Budapest Memorandum, to which Russia was signatory, guaranteeing Ukraine's territorial integrity. That was followed by the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and Russia's invasion of eastern Ukraine. "We cannot put trust in any guarantees from Russia," he said.
With the closure of coal fired power generation, more gas is going to be needed in Europe. Dutch transporter Gasunie has also reported rising demand for connections in Germany.