Poland intends to once again demand from Russia to reduce gas prices. However, "Gazprom" resisted and not only did not "caved in", but in turn demanded an increase in the price of the "blue fuel" supplied by it. Warsaw is unlikely to agree with this formulation of the issue, so most likely the dispute will be resolved in court. But for the first time after a series of offensive defeats in European instances from Ukraine and Poland, the state corporation was faced with an opportunity to gain a judicial victory. What has changed?
In accordance with the current contract for the supply of gas from Yamal, Warsaw and Moscow have the right to revise the cost of one thousand cubic meters every three years if it does not meet market conditions. Poland has already successfully used its right and recovered from Gazprom an amount of $ 1,5 billion for overpayment under the agreement since the beginning of 2014. But now the situation looks somewhat different.
Earlier, in Gazprom's contracts, the price of 70 cubic meters of “blue fuel” was tied to oil prices. With expensive oil, Russian gas was also expensive, which did not suit, in particular, Polish consumers. This is what gave rise to the Stockholm Arbitration to side with Warsaw. However, to date, about XNUMX% of the contracts of the domestic monopolist are tied to spot prices on European exchanges, and the cost of "black gold" is at its lowest. This radically changes the situation from the point of view of ideas about the "fairness" of pricing.
In addition, there is one more weighty argument related to the price of gas on the spot exchanges. This year, the price of a thousand cubic meters set a real anti-record: in the spring of 2020 it fell to $ 34. This was a direct consequence of the drop in fuel demand caused by the six-week "oil war" and the coronavirus pandemic that coincided with it, which brought down industrial production and consumption. In order to stay in business, LNG suppliers were forced to sell their feedstock at a price below profitability. It got to the point that it was more profitable for traders to pay a penalty for non-delivery than to drive a tanker across the ocean to its buyer.
In anticipation of winter, gas prices on spot exchanges are starting to rise again, but prices for "blue fuel" in Europe and Asia are still at historic lows. Gazprom is suffering huge losses due to the loss of market share and low quotations. In the period from the beginning of the year to August, he was able to earn 50% less than expected from supplies to the EU. In the first, most difficult quarter of 2020, the state corporation generally showed a loss of 116 billion rubles.
Under such market conditions, demanding further reduction of the contract price from Gazprom is a real mockery and pushing the monopolist to bankruptcy. It is clear that the Europeans traditionally do not really feel sorry for Russia, but certain ideas about common sense and legality in making decisions should also be in fairly committed Western courts. It is possible that the Stockholm arbitration will side with the Russian company this time and even raise the price of gas for Poland.