Gazprom will have to fight for Europe

Gazprom will have to compete not only with liquefied gas from the US, but also with pipelines from Azerbaijan and Norway.
On Monday, the first tanker with liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the US export terminal Sabine Pass arrived at the regasification terminal in Klaipeda. "This is the first, but definitely not the last, load", - quotes Interfax of Lithuanian Energy Minister Zhigimantas Vaichunas. In mid-September, another vessel with LNG is due to arrive in Klaipeda, Interfax reports, and Lietuvos energija CEO Dalius Misyunas assured that the US liquefied gas cost Lithuania cheaper than Gazprom gas, but from the forecast, whether Russian gas will be forced out with Market, abstained. The representative of Lietuvos energija did not answer the question of "Vedomosti", what is the actual cost of the delivered gas.

American LNG did not, and with low oil prices in the medium term, it will not be an alternative to Gazprom's pipeline supplies, Vygon Consulting research director Maria Belova believes. "According to the European Commission, in the first quarter of 2017, Lithuania bought gas from Russia at $ 180 per 1,000 cubic meters. If the contract between Cheniere (seller of American LNG) and Lietuvos Duju Tiekimas (buyer) was signed in the winter, the cost of LNG in Lithuania (with reference to Henry Hub) would be 40% higher - $ 254 per 1000 cubic meters. The American LNG is more likely to compete with Norwegian gas, which is supplied to Lithuania at a comparable price of $ 241 per 1,000 cubic meters. M ", Belov calculates.

The current cost of American LNG in Lithuania can be about $ 246 per 1000 cubic meters. M, Belova assumes.
Gas not only from the USA

Prospects for US LNG in Europe, Gazprom's Gazprom subsidiary Alexei Miller estimated at the end of June as low: "LNG in the European market compared to pipeline gas supplies was, is and will be less competitive."

 The competition between Gazprom and LNG from the United States began in 2016 - with the arrival of the first tanker to Europe, Tatyana Mitrova, director of the Skolkovo Business School Energy Center, is convinced: "And the fact that the competition with LNG in general and with the US in particular will be Only to become tougher, is practically guaranteed in conditions of an increasing supply surplus in the coming years. "

According to the corporate edition of Gazprom, the capacity of regasification terminals in Europe is about 220 billion cubic meters. M per year. In 2016 only 50-55 billion cubic meters of gas were used. M per year - idle capacity would be enough to almost completely abandon the Russian supply.
Pipe against pipe

Competing "Gazprom" will not only with LNG. In addition to Nord Stream-2 (55 billion cubic meters in 2019) and two threads of the Turkish Stream (33 billion cubic meters in 2019), the construction of the TANAP gas pipeline (16 billion cubic meters in 2018) .) And its continuation - TAP (10 billion cubic meters); The branch from TAP is also discussed - a vertical gas corridor (see map). By 2023, the capacity of TANAP is expected to reach 23 billion cubic meters. M per year. The Azerbaijani Shah Deniz field should become the resource base, whose British BP estimates that it is ready to increase gas supplies in 95%.

 Poland sees the Baltic Pipe pipeline with Norwegian gas as an alternative to Russian gas. The gas pipeline can be put into operation as early as 2022. By 2023, only newly constructed gas pipelines in Europe will have capacity of 120 billion cubic meters. M per year.

Gazprom, according to its own materials, almost halved the forecast for the growth of gas imports by Europe almost twice during the year: by 2025 - about 60 billion cubic meters. M per year, and in 2015 there were 113 billion cubic meters. M.

Reducing the forecast has become a tradition, Mitrova said: "The reason is a restrained growth of the European economy and impressive progress in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources."

"Gazprom" in the forecasts draws attention to the prospects of extraction in the exporting countries, explains a person close to Gazprom: "Norway managed to increase production, but its replacement ratio is less than one. This will lead to a decline in production in the future. "

The demand for new projects will be determined by the loading of the Ukrainian route, as well as by the agreements of Russia and the EU on the loading of new pipelines. "If the EU does not hinder the drastic reduction of Ukrainian transit, new flows can in principle be decently loaded, although not 100%," Mitrova said. To maintain the position of one of the most competitive gas suppliers to Europe, "flexible" marketing policy and readiness for constructive relations with buyers can help Gazprom, she is sure.

 Gazprom will have almost no leverage to influence customers when extending or concluding new contracts, says Dmitri Marinchenko, Director of Fitch Ratings. "The company will have to offer very flexible terms and make concessions, down to a significant reduction in the volume of deliveries on the condition of take-or-pay," Marinchenko supposes. The freedom of maneuver for Gazprom can be ensured by the cost of Russian gas in Europe at $ 100-110 per 1,000 cubic meters. M, according to Marinchenko.

"You should not equate transport capacity with the supply of gas," believes a person close to Gazprom. "The facilities must be provided with contracts, otherwise the pipe will lie empty."

No agreements providing supplies on the second thread of the "Turkish flow", yet, reminds RusEnergy partner Mikhail Krutikhin. Gazprom faces tough competition primarily with TANAP, which is almost built and will be used at full capacity. There is a chance that Gazprom will buy part of the TAP capacity at the auctions, Krutikhin says, but it will have to compete not only with Azerbaijani, but possibly with Iraqi and Israeli gas. "

It is not certain that Shah Deniz will provide a substantial and stable inflow of additional gas (due to geological features), Vedomosti's interlocutor, close to Gazprom, does not agree: "In addition, transportation by TANAP is quite expensive. The representative of TANAP assumed that transportation to the western border of Turkey would cost about $ 70 per 1,000 cubic meters. M. "