The CEO of the Ukrainian gas company Naftogaz, Andriy Kobolyev, stated on his Facebook page that gas supplies, which Gazprom used to provide through OPAL gas pipeline, could be conducted through the gas transportation systems (GTS) of Ukraine and Slovakia.
“If Gazprom wants to continue delivering the same gas volumes to the same places as it used to do through the OPAL pipeline, but using a shorter route, the Ukrainian and Slovak gas transportation systems will easily cope with this. Ukrainian and Slovak GTS were already used for that before Gazprom gained exclusive access to the OPAL pipeline,” said Kobolyev. He also welcomed the court’s decision, noting that it “restored justice and protected fare competition”.
On September 10, the European Court of Justice decided in favor of Poland in its dispute with Gazprom over the use of the OPAL gas pipeline. The OPAL pipeline is the land branch of the Nord Stream (which goes from Russia to Germany through the Baltic Sea). The court overturned the decision of the European Commission (EC), which allowed Gazprom to use 100% of the pipeline. Ukraine and Poland opposed the EC’s decision, pointing to the loss of revenue from the transit of Russian gas. Kyiv stated that it lost $425 million of its annual revenue.
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the European Commission’s decision on OPAL was “legally planned.” He promised to comment on the decision of the EU Court of Justice after the conclusion of the Ministry’s lawyers. Trilateral negotiations on the gas issue between Moscow, Kyiv, and Brussels will take place on September 19.
Before the cancellation of the EC decision, Gazprom could pump up to 28.2 billion cubic meters of gas through OPAL annually, but after the decision of EU court, Gazprom can use OPAL pipeline only for the transit of 18 billion cubic meters per year. At the end of 2018, Gazprom’s transit through Ukraine accounted for more than 40% of its exports which amounted to 86.8 billion cubic meters. The total capacity of the Ukrainian GTS on the border with Russia is almost 288 billion cubic meters.
(c) uawire 2019