The mega-project of "Gazprom", aiming to ensure that bypass Ukraine, through the Black Sea, to deliver European customers in a dozen countries, the Russian natural gas, will not be realized. This personally announced the president of Russia in the beginning of the week, during his visit to Turkey.
On the creation of the pipeline with a capacity of 63 billion cubic meters per year and the initial value of $ 16 billion announced in perhaps the most successful for the Russian economy in 2007, when it seemed that oil prosperity will last forever. Since then, many things have changed - the global financial crisis, worsening of the geopolitical situation, the cooling of relations with the West, sanctions, falling oil prices, the devaluation of the ruble ... "South Stream", seems to be drowned in a series of problems. On why this happened and what can turn to the global and Russian gas markets, the "New" told a well-known analyst of Energy, a partner at the consulting company Mikhail RusEnergy Krutikhin.
- Mikhail, how unexpected and economically justified the refusal of the "South Stream"?
- The project has reached a deadlock, when the European Commission has shown intransigence in relation to "Gazprom" demands to give him a monopoly right to dispose of the track "South Stream". The fact that these requirements are flagrantly contrary to EU principles of liberal market. These principles, enshrined in law in the "third energy package", do not allow the same company to act as the owner of the gas, as well as the owner and operator of the gas pipeline system that crosses the borders of the countries - EU members. Monopoly should be replaced by healthy competition, according to Europeans. In such circumstances, the Russian side had to abandon the initiative and write off losses.
- Is it all a matter of intransigence EU partners and the position of Bulgaria, it was announced officially by the Russian side?
- No, it's clearly not in the intractability partners. EU members can not simply go to the violation of the laws and regulations of their Union. Advise Bulgaria to demand "compensation" from the European Commission for the lost income from timeescheniya "South Stream" in its territory, as did Vladimir Putin, it is hardly reasonable, since the country can not insist on payment for the performance of its own laws. But the economic problems of Russia, caused by the sharp deterioration of the financial situation as a result of depreciation of the ruble and international sanctions, can be regarded as an important factor in making a decision on the termination of the project.
- What is the Russian side, the loss of the whole operation "South Stream"?
- Losses are not limited to already announced $ 5 billion as part of the work on the construction of Russian regions (the so-called "Southern Corridor") was funded under other articles of "Gazprom" of the budget, in particular, aimed at the development of energy supply to Russian consumers. It is not possible to accurately estimate what percentage of the appraised value of the site in the Russian 27-37 billion dollars was "mastered" by the contractor - Arkady Rotenberg company "Stroygazmontazh".
- What is the alternative proposalthe Turkish pipeline and how real his pad?
- The signing of any non-binding Memorandum of Understanding with Turkey on construction of a gas pipeline with capacity of 63 billion cubic meters a year in parallel with the existing and unused in its entirety "Blue Stream" looks like an attempt to save face because of the failure of the "South Stream". Technically, the construction of the gas pipeline with the availability of funds to finance is not a problem, but the implementation of such volumes of gas via Turkey raises serious doubts.
- Power of Russian gas pipelines are now in the European CIS countries, ie outside the CIS and Baltic countries, has already reached 250 billion cubic meters a year, while last year to these pipes had only been 138 billion addition of another 63 billion cubic meters to this excess capacity. to put it mildly, does not seem reasonable.
- What fate awaits another large-scale gas projects in Russia, in particular the "Power of Siberia"?
- To judge others "politicized" gas pipeline project from Russia trudno because their implementation has nothing to do with considerations of commercial viability and return on investment. "Power of Siberia" may eventually emerge, although the parameters of the gas supply in China remains uncertain, and the Chinese have a reputation as a "difficult" customers, who are able to negotiate favorable terms for themselves contracts. For this reason, it is likely that in the East, "Gazprom" will sell gas at a loss.
- What is the current general situation in the Russian gas market in an attempt to redirect flows from West to East, and also in response to falling oil prices, from which, as is known, depends on the price of Russian gas export contracts?
- It can be expected that gas production in Russia in the next decade will not grow. Domestic consumption is stagnating, the Europeans are trying in every way to limit its dependence on "Gazprom" and do not increase the volume of purchases. And exports to China, if the "Power of Siberia" will still be built, will begin in the best case in 2020 with a volume of 4.5 billion cubic meters per year and youFLS at the planned target of 30 billion per year in 2030. The prospect of sales of liquefied natural gas from Russia also seems unrealistic yet.
- Cope with these problems if "Gazprom" and what will happen to Russian consumers in terms of prices for gas?
- "Gazprom" is not able to achieve a decisive breakthrough in this situation, because is not a commercial company, but a political tool of the Kremlin, was started deliberately stranded projects. Its exclusive role does not help the industry out of the crisis. One would expect that in an environment of falling external demand or stagnirovaniya burden of financing the "Gazprom" will be passed on to consumers by raising Russian gas tariffs.