The European Commission confirms its intention to participate in the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transmission system (GTS) and is ready to facilitate potential partnership negotiations which are currently under way between Ukraine and one of the biggest European transmission system operators (TSO). Maroš Šefčovič, the Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of the Energy Union, said during a press-briefing today during his visit to Ukraine.
“Naftogaz is grateful to the European Commission for its unshaken support. Due to our active cooperation, we have an opportunity to implement Ukraine’s strategic course toward the full integration with the united European gas market,” said Andriy Kobolyev, CEO of Naftogaz.
Accumulating gas in the UGS
Mr. Šefčovič supported the proposal of the Ukrainian government to accumulate additional gas volumes in Ukraine’s underground gas storages (UGS). The Vice-President of the European Commission noted that although gas consumption in Ukraine continues to decline, additional gas reserves are desirable to be on the safe side. He also confirmed that the European Commission intended to facilitate the trilateral negotiations with Russia and to help Naftogaz attract new international funding.
Trilateral negotiations with Russia
The high representative of the European Commission also expressed his concern about the absence of progress in trilateral negotiations on a new “winter package” caused by the uncooperative position of the Russian side. Maroš Šefčovič expects that due to joint efforts of Ukraine and the EU progress can be achieved in this matter. Russia’s refusal to sign a standard supplementary agreement on disputable aspects in the contract between Naftogaz and Gazprom prevents the Russian company from entering the circle of Naftogaz active suppliers.
EU monitoring mission to examine gas pressure in Russian GTS
Naftogaz welcomes the readiness of the European Commission to send its monitoring mission to Russia with the view to examine gas pressure in the Russian GTS at the border with Ukraine. Naftogaz expects that the increased control will ensure that Gazprom maintains the contractual pressure levels for reliable transmission of Russian gas to Europe.
Engaging an international partner and reforming Ukraine’s gas market
During meetings of Mr. Šefčovič with the Ukrainian officials, the parties confirmed their mutual interest to engage a European partner in managing the Ukrainian GTS as soon as possible. The parties emphasized the importance of the unbundling process and ensuring independent operations of the market regulator.
The Vice-President of the European Commission also noted Ukraine’s progress in the gas market reform. Mr. Šefčovič noted that the decision to introduce market-based tariffs for all consumer categories was one of the most effective ways to overcome corruption in the gas market.
Joint efforts to develop Ukraine’s energy strategy
According to Maroš Šefčovič, adopting Ukraine’s energy strategy and signing the memorandum of understanding will be of great importance for the future energy cooperation between Ukraine and the EU. These documents are expected to be finalized in collaboration with the European Commission in the near future.