Russia Invites Slovakia to Join Gas Transit Projects
Slovakia is in talks with Russia over joining the Nord Stream 2 and Turkstream gas pipeline projects, the prime ministers of the two countries said June 5 following meetings.
The two projects are part of Russian giant Gazprom’s bid to abandon the Ukrainian route for its gas exports to Europe. That threatens huge losses for Slovakia. Meanwhile, Russia seeks to reduce the opposition to Nord Stream 2 inside the EU.
“We must do all we can to guarantee the energy security of our country, which is closely linked to the Russian Federation,” Slovakia's prime minister Peter Pellegrini said according to the TASR newswire. “At the same time, Slovakia is seeking possibilities for how our transit infrastructure could be included in gas supplies, which will be delivered to our territory via the Turkish Stream in the future,” he added.
His Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, said Moscow understands Bratislava’s concerns. “We have discussed several times that we must mutually find convenient points when it comes to the inclusion of Slovakia in the Nord Stream 2 and the Turkish Stream [pipelines],” the Russian prime minister said.
Slovakia will be heavily affected by the push to cut Ukraine out of Russian export routes. The country earns an estimated $800mn/m for collecting gas at its eastern border and carrying it westwards to Austria’s Baumgarten hub.
Although Slovak TSO Eustream holds a 50bn m3/yr ship-or-pay contract with Gazprom that will protect revenues to 2028, Slovakia was a leading voice – alongside Poland – opposing Nord Stream 2 when the $12bn Baltic Sea project was announced in 2016. However, Moscow moved quickly to quash that resistance, in a similar manner to operations in Hungary and Italy.
Although unconfirmed at the time, Gazprom announced in June 2016 that it had struck a deal with Eustream to use Slovak pipelines to transport gas from Nord Stream 2. The TSO is busy expanding capacity at its border with the Czech Republic to accommodate those flows.
Slovakia is also ready to provide storage capacity for gas that will be delivered via the pipeline, Pellegrini said according to the TASR newswire.