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Ukraine’s state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz said in a Facebook statement it expected foul play from Gazprom regarding the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine to Europe.
According to the statement, Gazprom is likely to find itself short of sufficient amounts of gas to satisfy the needs of both its domestic and foreign clients, and therefore accuse Ukraine of using Gazprom gas for its own needs, and then make the Ukraine pay for it.
Naftogaz went on to add, as quoted by Unian, that it had stored sufficient quantities of gas to use during the winter, so despite whatever Gazprom might claim, the gas Ukraine uses is its own. The company added that it is under no obligation from its contract with the Russian gas giant to “help it out” with Ukrainian gas in case of a shortage.
A few years ago, Europe experienced a midwinter shock when Gazprom turned off the tap, claiming that Ukraine had accumulated substantial dues for gas delivered by the Russian company. The two have been dragging each other to court after court ever since.
The event, however, spurred the determination of European authorities to diversify the Union’s gas supplier list. Gazprom currently accounts for about a third of gas deliveries to the EU.
In separate news, Gazprom reported record-high exports due to the cold spell in Europe. The company said it had exported 615.5 million cubic meters of gas outside the former Soviet Union on January 6, an increase of almost 1 million cubic meters from the previous day, which set another record.
The Nord Stream pipeline alone transported 165.2 million cubic meters of gas daily in the last few days. Gazprom is currently negotiating the construction of a twin pipeline, Nord Stream 2, which is being vehemently opposed by Ukraine, as it will see part of the gas supplies transited via its territory rerouted to the new pipeline.
Gazprom’s chief Alexei Miller said that “We have reached a totally new level of gas exports in conditions of a cold snap, lower extraction volumes in Europe and higher demand for gas on the energy market.”
By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com
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Irina is a writer for the U.S.-based Divergente LLC consulting firm with over a decade of experience writing on the oil and gas industry.