Ukraine to Halt Flows from Slovakia (Update)
(Adds statement from Ukrainian TSO on flooding at end)
Slovakia's gas transmission system operator (TSO) Eustream will be unable to offer firm capacity to Ukraine at the Budnice entry point for up to seven weeks, it unexpectedly announced June 24. The cause was a unilateral decision by its Ukrainian counterpart to carry out diagnostic work on the line on its side of the border, which it had taken without the usual preliminary discussion. Eustream did not give the start date in its statement.
Eustream's statement contradicts its offer as little as ten days earlier when it told NGW that it was offering additional capacity at Budnice until the end of the year, as well as interruptible capacity at the much larger entry point of Velke Kapusany for July at least and possibly monthly thereafter.
Shippers have been using Budnice to deliver some of Europe's gas surplus to Ukraine. In order to make more from its unused storage capacity, the operator has made it available on attractive terms to third parties.
Eustream said it was normal for the two TSOs on either side of an interconnection point to agree a maintenance timetable the year before, but this time the notice came "about two weeks ago". This is all the odder as there are no repairs to carry out and any work could be done without halting flows. It had even offered to lend Ukraine the equipment.
"Given that the works have not been duly announced and are expected to cause unprecedented duration of full flow interruption, which we have not witnessed in the past 50 years of our operation, we have intensively tried to understand the nature of such maintenance works.
"We believe there are technologies available, allowing such maintenance works to be performed by modern, non-invasive methods without interruption necessity. In this regard, we offered Ukrainian side with our technical expertise and knowledge," it said.
Eustream repeated that capacity on its side would be fully available except between September 2 and 22, when it will be limited to 27mn m³/d.
Heavy flooding hits western Ukraine
Heavy rainfall and a significant rise in the water level in mountain rivers has threatened gas infrastructure in the western region of Ukraine, said the Ukrainian TSO June 25. "As of today, gas transit to EU countries and gas transmission to consumers in all other settlements of Ukraine is carried out uninterruptedly and in the planned volumes. The gas infrastructure facilities involved in providing transit are under a special control: the company’s experts currently assess the risks as acceptable."
But a pipeline crossing over the River Cheremosh was destroyed, cutting gas flows to nine villages in the Chernivtsi region, and the operator warned of significant risk of flooding also in Vinnytsia region.
"In order to take quick action and ensure uninterruptable gas supply to Ukrainian and European consumers, LLC Gas TSO of Ukraine identified all potentially dangerous areas and developed localisation measures in case of emergencies, as well as scenarios for switching gas flows. There is a constant monitoring of the water level and of the condition of supporting structures in the places where gas pipelines cross rivers. All technical services and repair crews are mobilized and the necessary equipment is prepared in order to act in accordance with the emergency response plan," the TSO said.