Friday, September 12, 2014

Russia tightens energy grip amid 'reverse flow' gas trade

 While the EU prepares to apply a new round of sanctions against Russian energy companies, Poland, Slovakia and Austria have announced delivery shortfalls in their Russian gas imports being piped through Ukraine.

Ukraine started reverse flow of gas imports from Europe through Slovakia, Poland, Austria and Hungary, after Russia halted gas exports to Ukraine in June.

So-called ‘reverse flows’ occur when countries in Europe send gas back down pipelines usually used to carry Russian gas through Ukraine to the West.

On Thursday, Poland’s national gas company PGNiG announced that Russia reduced gas deliveries to Poland by up to 45 percent. Following the announcement, Slovakian gas company SPP and Austrian energy regulation department announced similar decreases, by 10 and 15 percent respectively.

Slovakia has the capacity to supply up to 20 million cubic meters of gas per day to Ukraine, and the two countries struck an agreement on gas trade on September 2.

Poland has been sending 3-4 million cubic meters of gas to Ukraine; however, yesterday’s shortfall in Russian gas has caused the country to temporarily stop its gas exports to Ukraine.

Hungary, another east European neighbor of Ukraine, has been sending up to 5 million cubic meters of gas to Ukraine daily, although the country has the capacity of 15 million.

Russian monopoly Gazprom has strongly criticized the trade of Russian gas via reverse flows; the company says the re-export of Russian gas is against its contracts with the countries involved in such trade.

Consuming about 50 billion cubic meters of natural gas annually, Ukraine was importing some 60 percent of its gas from Russia.
By E. Gürkan Abay




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