RI Note: Russia has protested against such ‘reverse flow’ re-sale of Russian gas saying they were illegal.
However, we suspect that for the time being Gazprom may be secretly quite happy that ‘reverse flow’ is taking place as it rids it of the headache and the drama of having to deal with Ukrainians.
Instead it is Slovaks and others who have to worry whether Kiev will pay them.
28 July, (Sputnik) – According to Ukrtransgaz, Ukraine’s gas transport monopoly, the country’s gas imports from Europe have tremendously exceeded Russia’s supplies of natural gas to Ukraine over the last six months.
The company’s official statement said that since the beginning of this year Ukraine imported 6.9 billion cubic meters of natural gas — 3.1 billion cubic meters more than from Russia. Ukrtransgaz named Slovakia Kiev’s biggest European gas importer. For comparison’s sake, in 2014 European countries exported about 5.1 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine.
Kiev halted gas imports from Russia earlier this month citing a price issue, leaving it dependent on European supplies. However, the devil is always in the details: Ukraine’s main energy supplier Slovakia is also receiving its natural gas from Russia.
Slovakia is currently Ukraine’s only gas importer, since Hungary and Poland suspended so-called “reverse” supplies to Kiev earlier this year.
In the beginning of July Ukraine’s gas imports from Slovakia amounted to only 13-16 million cubic meters (mcm) per day — down from April’s 38 mcm — prompting serious concerns regarding its ability to replenish the country’s gas storages in time for winter.
According to Brussels-based Gas Infrastructure Europe’s data, Kiev had stored only 12.2 billion cubic meters of gas by early July, which is 15 percent less than it had at the same time in 2014.
European experts have repeatedly underscored that although reverse flows from the EU offer a significant supply diversification they still fail to meet Ukraine’s demand in natural gas.
While Ukrainian Energy Minister Volodymyr Demchyshyn insisted that the country “would be comfortable” with 16.6 billion cubic meters of gas before the winter heating season, his Russian counterparts pointed out that Ukraine should pump at least 19 billion cubic meters into its storage.
So far, Kiev has announced it will increase natural gas imports from Europe in August, planning to receive about 40-53 mcm per day to boost injections into its storage. However, energy officials warn that Ukrtransgaz should bolster its energy imports up to 60 mcm to ensure the country will store enough gas before winter.