Russian Gas Supplies to Bypass Ukraine
Re-directing Russia’s gas supplies to Europe bypassing Ukraine from 2019 is a decided matter and the European Union has little time to prepare sufficient infrastructure, Chairman of the Gazprom board of directors Viktor Zubkov said on Wednesday, TASS reported.
"Considering the decision made on re-directing supplies from 2019, European partners do not have so much time (for infrastructure preparation)," he said at the European gas conference in Vienna.
A decision to supply Russian natural gas via the Turkish route bypassing Ukraine was made by the country’s top political leadership, Zubkov added.
"The decision on the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline was made by the country’s highest political leadership," Zubkov said in reply to TASS’ question about whether the decision to supply gas bypassing Ukraine from 2019 was final. The Turkish Stream project will fully substitute the volume of gas currently pumped to Europe via Ukraine, he said.
OPAL Gas Pipeline
The OPAL gas pipeline affair has no explanation and looks like investor’s discrimination on political grounds, Zubkov said.
"Within the framework of partnership logic, this has no explanation and looks like an investor’s discrimination for political reasons," he said, adding that the gas pipeline was currently operating at half its capacity.
OPAL is the surface extension of the Nord Stream gas carrier under the Baltic Sea, which delivers Russian gas to the EU countries bypassing transit countries. Russia and Germany would like the pipeline to be exempt from the operation of the EU’s Third Energy Package rules, which allows Gazprom to use only half of OPAL’s capacity. Late last year the European Commission postponed its decision on the OPAL issue till January 2015.
Nord Stream Expansion Plan Cancelled
Russia's Gazprom has cancelled a plan to build two more branches of the Nord Stream natural gas pipeline because of the "complicated" political situation, Reuters reported on Wednesday.
Gazprom said last year it could increase the pipeline that runs under the Baltic Sea to Germany with a line that would go to Britain, but Reuters cited sources as saying Gazprom currently has no plans to extend the pipeline to Britain.
Nord Stream consists of two pipes with an annual capacity of 55 billion cubic metres, enough to supply around 10 percent of the European Union's annual gas needs.
The construction of two more pipes would have doubled Nord Stream capacity.Currently Nord Stream is running at around half its capacity because Gazprom is allowed only limited access to the Opal pipeline which runs through Germany to the Czech Republic and connects to Nord Stream.
The Russian company has so far failed to secure greater access, with talks complicated by tensions between the EU and Russia over the Ukraine crisis.