BRATISLAVA, April 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukraine and Slovakia will sign a memorandum on reverse-flow gas supplies on April 28, Ukrainian acting Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Prodan said after talks with his Slovak counterpart on Thursday, April 24.
Slovak Minister of Economy Tomas Malatinsky said the gas would be supplied by the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline, not the transit pipeline.
EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said reverse-flow gas supplies from Slovakia to Ukraine by the trunk pipeline would be impossible without Gazprom’s consent.
However he said such supplies by the Vojany-Uzhgorod pipeline would not require the Russian company’s agreement.
Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said reverse gas supplies from Europe to Ukraine would be a debatable issue.
“If one looks at the map of the Ukrainian gas transportation system, he will easily understand that the system is designed to operate in one direction only and there is no technical possibility to reverse it,” Miller said.
“If this is some virtual reverse flow, there can be questions about its legality. It’s unclear what grounds Ukraine has to use Gazprom’s gas in the pipeline on its territory. This may raise legal questions,” he said.
Prodan said that reverse supplies would allow the country to import 7-10 billion cubic meters of gas from Europe.
Ukraine may get up to 20 billion cubic meters of gas from Europe annually, parliament-appointed Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.
“I have contacted our European and American partners on several issues. One is reverse gas flows. Technically, we can receive up to 20 billion cubic meters [of gas from Europe],” he said.
According to Yatsenyuk, it is less costly for Ukraine to buy gas from Europe because it is “$100-150 cheaper than the Russian gas”.
He recalled that Kiev had signed a memorandum with Europe on the modernization of the Ukrainian gas transportation system and Ukraine was now considering “joint modernization and operation” of the system with Europe and American investors.
The Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia) countries said in late February 2014 they were ready to resume the reverse flow of natural gas to Ukraine.
“In the field of energy security, the Visegrad countries are ready to resume and develop the reverse flow of natural gas supplies to Ukraine,” the four countries said in a joint statement.
In January, Ukraine signed a document on reverse gas supplies through Slovakia and sent it to Bratislava which has not signed it yet. The agreement has to be approved by the European Commission.
Ukraine has been pressing for the reverse gas flow through Slovakia for more than a year. Volumes may reach up to ten billion cubic meters a year. The move was prompted by high gas prices charged by Russia’s Gazprom. Ukraine started buying natural gas in Europe in November 2012 and suggested signing a contract for gas supplies in the amount of seven billion cubic meters a year through Hungary and Slovakia while reducing its purchases from Russia to 20 billion cubic metres. Currently, Ukraine gets gas in reverse mode through Hungary.
The European Union has promised assistance to Ukraine in diversifying natural gas supplies.
Kiev is planning to buy about 290 million cubic meters of gas in Europe in reverse mode (about 140 million cubic meters will be delivered through Poland and the rest through Hungary).
Ukraine has been receiving natural in reverse flows from Europe since November 1, 2012. The gas is supplied across the Ukrainian border with Poland under a contract with from German RWE.
The gas is supplied across the Ukrainian border with Poland. RWE planned to supply up to 5 billion cubic meters of gas to Ukraine until May 2013. Last year Naftogaz imported 55 million cubic meters of gas using the reverse flow scheme.
The throughput capacity of the Ukrainian gas transportation is 288 billion cubic meters system at the entrance and 178.5 billion cubic meters at the exit, including 142.5 billion cubic meters to European countries and 3.5 billion cubic meters to Moldova. Natural gas transit through Ukraine to Europe and CIS countries in 2011 increased by 5.7% from 2010 to 104,197,067,000 cubic meters, including to Western Europe by 5.9% to 101,098,013,000 cubic meters, but decreased by 2.4% to 3,099,054,000 cubic meters to CIS countries.
Ukraine’s gas transportation system consists of 72 compressor stations, 110 production shops and 1,451 gas distribution stations. The overall length of gas pipelines operated by the company is 38,600 kilometers, including 22,200 kilometers of trunk pipelines and 16,400 kilometers of extensions.