Ukraine could use Sudzha to cover lower Nord Stream flow: press
Ukraine's gas transmission operator GTSOU has around 109mn m3/day of spare transit capacity to Europe, potentially aiding efforts to plug shortfalls caused by cutbacks at Gazprom's Nord Stream pipeline, Reuters reported June 20.
Gazprom last week announced it was cutting gas supply via Nord Stream 1 by up to 60%, blaming technical difficulties at a compressor station. And Germany, France and Italy have all reported reductions in Russian flow.
Despite the Russian invasion, Ukraine's national transit system remains a key European gateway for Russian piped gas. But GTSOU and Gazprom disagree on whether the system can replace some of Nord Stream's lost capacity.
The disagreement relates to a force majeure at GTSOU's Sokhranivka transit point declared May 11, after the Ukrainian grid lost operational control of surrounding infrastructure.
Ukraine possesses an alternative transit point, at Sudzha, with a technical capacity of 244mn m3/day, GTSOU CEO Sergiy Makogon told Reuters. There is also 90mn m3/d available at the Yamal-Europe pipeline, which transports Yamal peninsula gas from Russia to Germany via Poland, Makogon claimed. The Yamal-Europe capacity has not been used for a month, he added.
GTSOU believes Sudzha is an adequate alternative to fulfil all of its European transit volumes. And Makogon is unimpressed with Gazprom's failure to use more of Sudzha's capacity. Gazprom has booked 77.2mn m3/day of transit capacity, but is currently only fulfilling 41.7mn m3/d in nominations through Sudzha. The Russian gas giant insists bringing over additional volumes would be "technologically impossible".
Makogon disagrees, arguing Gazprom's action is premeditated. He recalls the Sudzha pipeline operating at its full technical capacity in both 2018 and 2019, which he says undermines Gazprom's standpoint. "They are not interested in supplying more to Europe. They want to push gas prices higher", he said. "This is not about gas transit revenue for Ukraine, which is about $100mn a month, it is more about the security of our pipelines."