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30 Dec, 2016 14:37

Ukraine sees significant cuts in Russian gas transit

Ukraine sees significant cuts in Russian gas transit

Gazprom has been bypassing Ukraine in delivering gas to Europe by using other pipelines, according to the Ukrainian gas monopoly Naftogaz.

Naftogaz says Russia is now pumping more gas through Opal, a European pipeline that connects Gazprom’s Nord Stream to Germany and the Czech Republic.

The Ukrainian company says Gazprom’s change of transportation policy does not affect the Russian company’s European clients, as the volume pumped daily to the EU has not changed.

"According to the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG), starting from December 22, Russia’s Gazprom has significantly increased the volume of gas transportation through the Nord Stream gas pipeline. Almost all of the additional volumes went through the Opal pipeline. At the same time, the volume of Ukrainian transit during this time decreased significantly. The daily volume of gas supplies to Europe through the two routes has not changed," the Ukrainian company said on Friday. 

Gazprom has reportedly increased gas transits through Opal by 41 percent and cut Ukrainian transit by 19 percent. Opal is currently pumping at 80 percent of capacity, compared to 50 percent earlier, claims Naftogaz. The pipeline stretches about 470 kilometers from the German Baltic Sea coast to Brandov on the Czech-German border.

Opal receives Russian gas through Gazprom’s Nord Stream pipeline, but due to the limitations set by European regulators, Opal is not running at full capacity. In late October, the European Commission agreed increasing Gazprom’s access to Opal.

Gazprom CEO Aleksey Miller told the media on Thursday that Nord Stream was working at full capacity.

Russia insists Ukraine has proved an unreliable partner in Russian gas transit to Europe. Moscow is concerned about a repeat of the gas crisis in 2006 which left parts of Europe without heat after Ukraine began to siphon off gas sent to the European market.

To solve the problem, Gazprom is introducing the Nord Stream-2 project that will double Nord Stream’s capacity and Turkish Stream that will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and Europe through the Black Sea.

The gas transit contract between Moscow and Kiev expires in December 2019 and has not yet been extended.