Sunday, 21 April 2013
EU Countries Show Interest In Ukraine's Gas Transportation System
KIEV, Ukraine -- Poland, Hungary, Italy, Germany and other European states are currently negotiating the use of Ukraine's underground gas storage facilities. This was announced by Ukraine's Minister of Energy and Coal Eduard Stavytskyi at a press conference in Kiev. According to the minister, Poland, for instance, considers using gas storage facilities to be able to control the prices on the domestic natural gas market. EU member-states first showed their interest in Ukrainian gas storages in February 2013, for its gas transportation system (GTS) boasts the extensive underground storage facilities - 13 units with the total capacity of more than 31 billion cubic meters. Such capacity allows for stocking sufficient volume of gas during summer months, so that it can be utilized during peak situations in winter time in Europe. Importantly, on May 3, 2013, in Brussels Ukraine and the EU will hold a roundtable regarding further development of the Ukrainian gas market. The roundtable will be chaired by EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger and Ukraine's Energy Minister Stavytsyi. The invitation to discuss the modernization of the Ukrainian GTS and the establishment of the Eastern European gas hub in Ukraine was sent to most of the leading gas companies, including Russia's Gazprom. In addition to EU's support for Ukrainian GTS modernization, the 27-nation bloc helps Ukraine diversify its gas supplies. Thus, starting November 2012, Ukraine has been receiving German gas through Polish pipelines. The amount of gas imported through Polish territory in November 2012 - April 2013 reached 171 million cubic meters. Furthermore, in 2013, Ukraine intends to sign agreements regarding reverse gas supply from Germany through Hungarian and Slovakian territories. The expected volume of gas Ukraine will receive under such arrangement can reach 7 billion cubic meters. According to Minister Stavytskyi, this should influence the current price Ukraine is paying for Russian gas (over $400 per thousand cubic meters of gas). Notably, in March 2013, many private companies along with Ukraine's public company Naftogaz started supplying natural gas both from Europe and Russia to Ukraine. Currently, the Eastern European country is purchasing most of its imported gas from Russia (the projected 20 billion cubic meters in 2013).