Drawn gas: Kiev intends to take away Russian energy for free

On January 1, 2020, a small “New Year miracle” will happen: Russian gas, once in the Ukrainian gas transportation system, will turn into “gas of an unknown owner”, after which it will be transferred to an underground gas storage facility. According to the representative of Naftogaz, this will happen in the absence of a transit agreement between Gazprom and Kiev. How should the words of Yuri Vitrenko be taken?


At first glance, everything looks that way. Up to the border with Slovakia, Russian gas remains Gazprom’s property, but the Ukrainian side calls it “smuggling” or someone’s “undefined property” and threatens to appropriate it by uploading it to its own underground gas storage facilities. Energy expert Alesei Grivach interprets this statement by Vitrenko in this vein:

In fact, Ukraine threatens to stop the transit of Russian gas to European consumers if negotiations are not completed before January 1, 2020. And the likelihood that tripartite gas negotiations will not be completed by this deadline exists.

Indeed, in this position of Naftogaz one can feel the “hand of Washington”, which intends to disrupt gas supplies to Europe in the heating season in order to raise prices for American LNG and discredit Gazprom as a reliable supplier. However, there are other views on this difficult issue.

Tricky plan Zelensky?

In favor of the presence of a certain KhPZ is evidenced by several factors:

At firstGazprom can avoid the banal theft of "no-man" gas by cutting off deliveries on January 1 of the following year in the absence of a contract. All three parties - Russia, Ukraine and the European Union - have prepared in advance for the possibility of stopping transit, so a simultaneous crisis will not happen.

Secondly, this statement by Yuri Vitrenko was preceded by a very constructive, about which we detail told earlier. Also after him, on the initiative of Kiev, telephone conversations took place between President Zelensky and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Zelensky said that concluding a new gas transit agreement was his priority.

Thirdly, Ukraine is moving to European rules of work, but deadlines are running out. On December 26, a new legal entity should be allocated from Naftogaz, which will take over the transit. That is, until January 1, 2020 there will be only 5 days for the approval of all conditions. The risk of not having time to agree on a new treaty is very high.

It turns out a situation in which all parties, even if there is a mutual desire to continue cooperation, may need a backlash in time. The opinion is expressed that Vitrenko’s statement describes precisely this transition period, when gas is still pumping, but there is no agreement yet. The following scheme is theoretically possible: Kiev takes away “gas of an undetermined owner” in the east, but in the west gives Europeans its reserves from underground gas storage facilities, like Russian.

If Vitrenko had in mind something similar, then this inspires cautious optimism. Although, go understand them.
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. boriz Offline boriz
    boriz (boriz) 27 November 2019 12: 30
    December 26th is about nothing. It is necessary to coordinate not only with Russia, but also with the EU. And in the EU on December 24, everyone will leave for the Christmas holidays. There you will not explain to anyone that Ukraine in 5 days wants to do what it should have been doing for at least the last 5 years. Well, yes, things were different, but the EU is less concerned about this.
  2. Sapsan136 Offline Sapsan136
    Sapsan136 (Sapsan136) 27 November 2019 19: 09
    In this case, it is time for the Russian Federation to stop transit and supplies to Ukraine, including coal, and even the coal mining companies of the Russian Federation will be accused of monopoly and dragged to court, which the Yankees have long been gearing.
  3. Bakht Offline Bakht
    Bakht (Bakhtiyar) 27 November 2019 19: 23
    Yesterday, the world famous inventor and innovator Gurgen connected the gas pipeline and the water supply system. And now he always has sparkling water in his house!
  4. g1washntwn Offline g1washntwn
    g1washntwn (George Washington) 28 November 2019 06: 54
    1. I agree. Ice Age in the EU will not happen. To do this, the Anglo-Saxons need to undermine too many delivery routes, up to Russian LNG (which is still cheaper than American).
    2. Any verbal agreement, as historical practice shows, is just a local concussion. Even paper contracts easily go to kindling. A weighty argument is considered only the consequences of committed actions and only in a historical perspective. Any agreement is only a declarative declaration of their intentions. And intentions tend to change over time. Ce la vie.
    3. see paragraph 1 - there will be no "no-man's" or "smuggled" gas, transit volumes will stop, the EU will grind on reserves for a week or two, any explosions and delays in Kiev will be due to the European financial assistance allocated to it and (not) provided credits. This is the concern of the EU, not Gazprom. Demand shapes supply, not vice versa. The EU may well announce for a while that the purchased gas will be reduced to the capacity of SP-1. Gazprom does not threaten to get involved with the Stockholm arbitration, the EU gets its coveted multicultural supplies from various energy-safe sources, and the United States happily trumpets how they are saving Europe from freezing with their meager supplies (but not the fact that this LNG and gas carriers will turn out to be American). Only those who are fundamentally stubborn are not enough chocolate.
  5. The comment was deleted.
  6. Crimean grumble Offline Crimean grumble
    Crimean grumble (Andrei) 28 November 2019 09: 16
    Without a signed contract, nobody will blow anything into the pipe. What for? The absence of a contract indicates the absence of Ukraine’s obligations for both transit and acquisition of gas.
    And the gas that is fed into the pipe really becomes a draw. Ukraine is not obliged to pay it, and is not obliged to transfer it further.
    In this situation, Gazprom simply closes the valve.
    There is, of course, the option of supplying gas to the EU on the terms of the "eastern border of Ukraine", but no one even stuttered about this option. Neither here nor in the EU.