Since August 9, Gazprom has stopped supplying gas to Europe via the Nord Stream gas pipeline. Within next nine days the pipeline will be under annual maintenance. So, the Russian gas holding asked Ukrtransgaz to increase the gas transit via Ukraine.
“The amount of gas delivered to the Ukrainian gas-transporting system (on the border with Russia) fully corresponds with the Gazprom’s application for today,” they say at Gazprom press office. Ukrtransgaz has confirmed receiving the application and said it is ready to work under the contract with Gazprom. However, they said that Gazprom does not fulfil its obligations. Ukrtransgaz insists that by 10 a.m. on August 9 Gazprom did not “take actions to maintain the contracted pressure at border gas-metering stations.”
To remind, in late July, Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolev announced that Gazprom reduced its gas transit via Ukraine by 19%. “Apart from reducing the volumes, the Russian side lowered the pressure, what makes certain difficulties for Ukrtransgaz. I think Russia is sparing no effort to prove our European partners that Ukraine cannot be a transit country, so they decided to blackmail both us and them,” Kobolev said. Moreover, he informed that Kiev issued a complaint to Brussels.
Interfax reported than citing a source in Gazprom export, lowered pressure in the Ukrainian route was caused by weather conditions and decreased volumes of consumer applications, what was confirmed by GIE, a European gas association: Italy received twice less gas. As for the pressure, it is annually signed in the technical contract, but experts say the document was not signed, and Ukraine did not have enough gas in its storage facilities to be capable of pumping the gas out and maintaining the needed pressure.
Will Kiev resort to cut the transit, if the pressure does not grow? Most probably, not. But it will be doing its best to prove to Europeans that it is not to blame. Meanwhile, there are not so many tools left with Ukraine now. Ukrtransgaz is planning a press trip to border gas-compressor station in Sumy Region. The name of the trip is symbolic: “Activities of the Ukrainian gas-transporting system for the period of Nord Stream non-operation.”