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    Gazprom Maxes out Nord Stream 1 in 2018


A record year with record use of Nord Stream 1

by: Thierry Bros

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Gazprom Maxes out Nord Stream 1 in 2018

Gazprom’s flows to Europe in 2018 reached an all-time high of 168bn m³(or +2% vs 2017). Following Nord Stream 1 press release[1] on its 2018 record use, we have updated our latest paper with the added split.


The capacity here takes into account the regulatory limit on OPAL’s use and the timing of the NEL construction, the two pipelines carrying Nord Stream gas in mainland Europe. But as the flows and capacity are measured in Russian bn m³, we have converted them into the EU standard.

Gazprom's exports by route


The percentages are calculated using:

  • The maximum monthly effective volume via Ukraine (88.8bn m³/y)
  • The theoretical maximum via Belarus (50.4bn m³/yr, the sum of Yamal Europe (34bn m³/yr), Beltransgaz to Lithuania (11bn m³/y) and Poland (5bn m³/y)
  • Nord Stream 1 (55bn m³/y)
  • The theoretical maximum for direct routes (16bn m³/yr, being the sum of Finland (8bn m³/y), Estonia (2bn m³/y) and Latvia (6bn m³/y)).

This very clearly shows that Gazprom, for economic purposes, is maximising the use of its own Nord Stream 1 (on baseload) at the expense of the Ukrainian transit (flexible). But with the Nord Stream 1 now fully used, Gazprom cannot increase further, in 2019, its direct flows through this pipe. So, 2019, should look similar in terms of uses for all routes except Ukraine that provides the flexibility. If Gazprom exports even more volumes in 2019 vs 2018, Ukraine flows, load factor and revenues will increase but if Gazprom exports less, Ukraine flows, load factor and revenues will decrease.

The major unknown is now about the future of the Ukrainian transit contract that expires December 31. On January 21, a trilateral ministerial meeting between EU, Russia and Ukraine was held in Brussels[2] on the future of gas transit via Ukraine post 2020, with the next ministerial meeting scheduled in May. But with Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefčovic on leave for campaigning at the Slovak presidential elections as of February 1, the probability of a transit deal to be signed in 2019 has further decreased…

Thierry Bros

January 23, 2019

Advisory Board Member of Natural Gas World

[1] https://www.nord-stream.com/press-info/press-releases/a-record-volume-of-588-billion-cubic-metres-of-natural-gas-has-been-transported-through-the-nord-stream-pipeline-in-2018-504/

[2] http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_STATEMENT-19-562_en.htm