“The EU's third energy package should be applied to all gas pipelines, including Nord Stream 2 and the Ukrainian gas transmission system,” Naftogaz CEO Yuriy Vitrenko stated during his recent appearance on the Velyka Piatnytsia show on Ukraina-24 TV channel. He also spoke about talks between President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky and German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin.
"I think we have been able to convince Angela Merkel in many ways, and she even changed her point of view on the Nord Stream 2 project. She has recognized the genuine security threats this poses to Ukraine. This is not just a question of money or the economy for Ukraine, but a question of national security,” said the Naftogaz head.
In addition, Vitrenko noted that the parties agreed on concrete steps to be taken while Merkel is still Chancellor. “We have openly discussed what we need to do to guarantee Ukraine's energy security, and Ukraine's security in general, and to protect Ukraine's economic interests. We have clearly agreed on this, and I hope that soon we will see the implementation of these arrangements. Before she leaves, and before Nord Stream 2 is launched. And I still hope that the pipeline will not be launched at all.”
The chairman of the board of Naftogaz suggested that formal start of the project could be announced in order to create an impression for the media, but this would not mean the start of commercial operation of the pipeline.
“To operate the gas pipeline commercially, it is necessary for the operator of this gas pipeline to be certified under the Third Energy Package. This should be done by the German regulator, but in consultation with the European Commission. And at any time, the European Commission and the German regulator can say "sorry, you do not meet the requirements of the Third Energy Package." And these requirements are very strict. If they use them in essence, and not only in the form, this gas pipeline can never enter commercial operation,” Vitrenko stated. “The Third Energy Package clearly says that one person or group can't control both gas production, sales, and transportation. Everyone understands that there is one person in Russia who controls both gas production and gas transport through this pipeline. And it is not Alexei Miller, it is Vladimir Putin.”
Vitrenko stressed that the debate is not only over control over this particular gas pipeline and the application of the Third Energy Package.
"Recently, our Polish colleagues celebrated a significant victory - and we joined the lawsuit in the European Court - which upheld the principle that when decisions are made in Germany regarding Nord Stream 2 or related gas pipelines, the impact on other countries must also be taken into account," he said.
The Naftogaz CEO emphasized: “We aim to prove that the Third Energy Package should in fact be applied by Gazprom not only to Nord Stream 1, Nord Stream 2 or other gas pipelines, but also to the Ukrainian GTS.”
He noted that Gazprom, in apparent violation of European law, does not provide access for other companies to the Ukrainian GTS via the border with Russia to transit gas to Europe.
"Russia does not allow exporters from Central Asia, other Russian companies, and European companies that would like to receive gas on the border of Ukraine and Russia to book capacity in Ukraine and transit to Europe. We also discussed this with Merkel. She understands this very well: it would be much better for Ukraine's security if European companies booked Ukrainian GTS transit capacities,” Vitrenko offered.
He also underlined: “We would have contracts in place with European companies that are highly reliable. In addition, this would actually open the door for us to form a consortium, hence we could invite European and American companies to become the operators of such a pipeline.”
Integrated Communications Department
NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine