Gazprom chooses Germany over Ukraine

Kiev may lose several hundred million dollars in transit revenue.
Gazprom has increased the transit of gas through the OPAL pipeline, which receives gas from the Nord Stream pipeline in Germany. Yesterday, on August 2, after a six-month ban, Gazprom again gained access to 40% of the gas pipeline capacity. As a result, its load increased by more than a quarter - from 56 million to 71.5 million cubic meters. M per day, follows from the data of the company operator OPAL Gastransport. But the application for the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to Slovakia was reduced.

Unlocked capacity Gazprom buys at daily auctions. Following the resumption of trading on the first day, new capacities were used by 44.3%, according to OPAL Gastransport. On August 1, the average load of the pipeline was 2.337 million cubic meters. M per hour. Together with the beginning of a new gas day (6 am) on August 2, it increased to 2.976 million cubic meters. M per hour and remained so throughout the day. Thus, in transit through the OPAL, the transit of gas through the OPAL should increase by 15.3 million cubic meters in 24 hours. M. If the capacity will be fully repurchased, in addition, 33.3 million cubic meters can be pumped through the gas pipeline. M per day, or slightly more than 12 billion cubic meters. M per year.

 Data on buyers platform PRISMA, which is held daily auctions, does not disclose. The representative of Gazprom does not say whether his company participates in the trades. A person close to Gazprom, on the eve of the resumption of auctions, confirmed that Gazprom could take part in them.

Part of the gas for the German pipe, apparently, Gazprom has thrown from the Ukrainian direction. According to the official data of the Slovak operator Eustream, the application for the transit of Russian gas through the gas measuring station "Velke Kapushany" as of August 3 was reduced by 13.4 million cubic meters as compared to the previous day. M - from 161 million to 147.6 million cubic meters. M. But late in the evening the operator corrected the application. Now it has grown to 155.1 million cubic meters. M.

 From the Nord Stream gas pipeline, laid along the bottom of the Baltic Sea, gas is further transported through Germany via two pipes - NEL and OPAL.

In accordance with the norms of the Third Energy Package adopted by the EU in 2009, Gazprom, as a co-owner of OPAL, could use only half of its capacity. At NEL, these requirements did not apply. In October 2016, the European Commission agreed to withdraw OPAL from under restrictions until 2033. Thus, Gazprom's quota for the use of OPAL rose to 90%, the additional transport capacity the company managed to redeem in December 2016 and January 2017. Since February Auctions were not conducted in connection with the imposition of interim measures at the request of the Polish PGNiG. On July 23, the chairman of the Supreme Court of the EU canceled the ban.

 The redistribution of transit gas flows may seem insignificant on a day-to-day scale, but not in the long term, believes Dmitry Marinchenko, Director of Fitch Ratings. Gazprom constantly declares its desire to abandon transit through Ukraine. But until "Nord Stream-2" and "Turkish Stream" are constructed, the undercharged capacity of OPAL is the only option for Gazprom to implement this policy. "I am confident that the company will use this opportunity to the maximum," says Marinchenko. But 12 billion cubic meters. M transit capacity OPAL, which became available for Gazprom, is about 20% of the annual transit of gas through Ukraine in 2016, recalls the analyst. "With revenues from gas transit at just over $ 2 billion, which were reported in the past year, Naftogaz's losses could amount to about $ 400 million. For Ukraine this is a fairly significant amount," Marinchenko said.

An increase in the flow through OPAL due to transit through Ukraine was to be expected, believes Alexei Grivach, Deputy Director of the National Energy Security Fund. "Transporting gas along the northern route for Gazprom is much more profitable," the expert said. Incomplete loading of additional capacity is a temporary phenomenon and is likely to be explained by purely technical reasons, the expert suggests. "I am confident that Gazprom will contract all available volume and will soon use OPAL to the maximum," Grivach said. In addition, the distribution of transit flows reduces the risks not only of the supplier, but also of the end user - this perfectly suits the stated goals of the development of the gas market in the EU, the expert recalls. "As for the possible reduction of transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, even a full load of OPAL will not have a dramatic impact on them," Grivach said.

 The representatives of Gazprom also repeatedly spoke about the high cost of transit through Ukraine. The tariff for the "Nord Stream" is $ 2.1 per 1000 cubic meters. M per 100 km, on the territory of Ukraine - $ 2.5, reported last summer, "Interfax" referring to Gazprom's predecessor Alexei Miller.

The construction of Nord Stream 2 does not imply the cessation of the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, Interfax reported yesterday, citing the deputy director of the Information and Press Department of the Russian Foreign Ministry Anastasia Fyodorova. "The preservation of gas transit through Ukraine would be possible only if Kiev provides competitive tariffs for transit and leveling the known transit risks, including the removal of all claims and the abolition of absurd suits against Gazprom," she said.