Naftogaz takes aim at Gazprom's supply monopoly
Ukraine's Naftogaz has criticised the monopoly that its Russian counterpart Gazprom wields over gas transport and supply in Russia, while repeating its call for European and US authorities to block the Nord Stream 2 pipeline.
"Gazprom blocks exports of gas by other companies producing gas in Russia. Unlike Gazprom, they produce gas in regions where it makes more sense to transport gas through Ukraine," Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko said in a statement shared on social media on May 28. "We have the common interest with Europeans to have a proper rule of law and fair competition across the continent."
Under Russian law, Gazprom has the exclusive right to export the country's gas via pipeline, and the government has long resisted calls by other Russian gas producers like Novatek and Rosneft to end this monopoly. It has also used its monopoly over Russia's internal pipeline network to prevent gas suppliers from transiting gas to Europe.
"Gazprom is abusing its dominance in Europe and is blocking gas flows through Russia, for example, from Central Asia (Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan)," Vitrenko added.
Vitrenko, who took over as CEO of Naftogaz after the sacking of Andriy Kobolev in April, has ramped up pressure on Brussels and Washington to prevent Nord Stream 2 reaching completion and ensure that Ukraine remains a transit route for Russian gas heading to Europe. The pipeline is around 95% complete and Russian officials are hopeful it will start operations before the end of the year.
"Nord Stream 2 is not just an economic or gas project. It's really about geopolitics and global security," Vitrenko said. "If there is no Russian gas flow through Ukraine, it increases the chance of full-scale war between Russia and Ukraine, full-scale military aggression of Russia."
A Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border in recent months has raised concerns that the conflict between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebels in east Ukraine could escalate.