"The Commission was informed by the Ukrainian authorities about their concern regarding a possible emergency situation in the Ukrainian Gas Transmission System (GTS)," Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič Friday said in a statement on Russian-Ukrainian natural gas situation in March 2018, Censor.NET reports.
"This issue is, according to the information so far available to the Commission, based on from three elements:
- Continuous low and varying pressure in gas supply from Russia to Ukraine for transit to the EU: this phenomenon is not new but was already investigated by the Commission and the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas (ENTSOG) with Naftohaz and Gazprom last year. However under current circumstances (low temperatures, high domestic gas demand, expected direct imports from Russia) the low pressure in the Gas Transmission System becomes particularly problematic;
- Lack of direct supply from Gazprom to Naftohaz: it seems that Naftohaz and Gazprom have not managed to agree on the import terms of natural gas despite the decision of the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal, which led to the refusal of the delivery of natural gas even for volumes pre-paid by Naftohaz;
- Increasing reverse flows from the EU at a short notice is challenging at the moment because of tight spot markets (low temperatures throughout EU) and difficulties to technically rearrange the flows within the Gas Transmission System.
"The Commission is currently further clarifying the facts with the European Network of Transmission System Operators for Gas. However, it is the Commission's view that this situation raises concerns not only for the direct supply of natural gas to Ukraine but possibly also for the transit of gas to the EU," Šefčovič said.
"The Commission therefore calls on all parties concerned, companies and respective Ministries of Ukraine and Russia, to find immediate solutions in line with the decisions of the Stockholm Arbitration Tribunal. The Commission stands ready to steer a trilateral process which in the past has already proven to be effective in situations of disagreement," EC vice-president said. He also expressed intent to call the Ukrainian and Russian energy ministers in order to assess the situation and to agree on the necessary next steps.
"It is important that both Russia and Ukraine reaffirm their respective positions of a reliable supplier and transit country of gas, as was the case over the past years," the official stressed.
Earlier, Gazprom received advanced payment from Naftohaz Ukrainy for gas supplies in March but transferred the money back. "Evidently, there will be no gas supplies to Naftohaz Ukrainy starting from March 1," Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said.
Stockholm arbitration ruled Feb. 28 that Naftohaz be paid $4.63 billion. Following two arbitration proceedings, Gazprom owes $2.56 billion.