Gazprom's recent statements show Russia is probably preparing another gas crisis to pressure EU

Gazprom’s recent statements about its readiness to cut gas supplies to the EU indicate that Russia might be planning a new gas crisis for January-February 2017.

The artificial gas crisis might be intended to generate pressure on the EU decision-making process related to Gazprom's bypass pipelines or the antitrust investigation currently performed by the European Commission.

It is likely that the Russian side intends to blame Ukraine for the crisis. Naftogaz hopes for the European Commission to send a monitoring mission shortly to obtain reliable first-hand data and to prevent possible negative developments.

Naftogaz estimates show that Ukraine has sufficient gas reserves and sources to satisfy needs of domestic customers during the entire heating season.

Gazprom insists that Naftogaz should buy additional gas volumes from Russia. In the same time, the Russian monopoly rejects signing a standard supplementary agreement that removes critical purchase-related risks for the Ukrainian side.

The supplementary agreement stipulates that Gazprom shall supply all gas prepaid by Naftogaz and ship it exclusively through pre-agreed entry points. The document also waives the disputed take-or-pay provision and introduces a flexible payment and nomination procedure.

“We value the support Ukraine receives from our Western partners. The Ukrainian side is also fully aware of the importance of gas supplies to Ukraine from the European companies for the country's energy security. Preserving and expanding these relations is of direct interest to us", Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev commented on the situation.

"Naftogaz has never failed on its transit obligations, and Gazprom has provided no evidence of our alleged contract violations in either 2006 or 2009. However, our Russian counterparts have used their self-made crises to advance their interests. We confirm our commitment to fulfill our transit obligations in accordance with the contract and call for maximum transparency on the issue,” said Kobolyev.

Aiming to prevent the possible crisis, the Ukrainian side has addressed the European Commission with the proposal to dispatch immediately an independent monitoring mission to entry and exit points of Ukraine’s GTS used for Russian gas transit.

Naftogaz also points up the obligation of Gazprom to maintain the contract pressure on the Russian side of the gas transmission system. Because of Gazprom’s systematic failure on this obligation, Ukraine has to use more fuel to transit gas than in normal conditions. Naftogaz hopes that pressure inconsistencies on the Russian side of the GTS will be removed as a result of negotiations between the European Commission and Russia.

Corporate Communications Department
NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine

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