23:23 GMT24 January 2020
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    The Director of the Energy Community Secretariat said if Russia rejects the Ukrainian transit route, then the EU will not be able to find an alternative source to substitute Russian gas coming through Ukraine.

    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) —The European Union will not be able to find another source to substitute Russian gas transiting through Ukraine, if Russia rejects the Ukrainian transit route, Janez Kopac, the Director of the Energy Community Secretariat, said.

    The Energy Community is an international organization, which mission is to extend the EU internal energy market’s legal framework to South East Europe and beyond. Secretariat is the only Energy Community’s permanent institution.

    Kopac told RIA Novosti:

    "No, there is not enough capacity at the moment. I think, this will not change in the coming years, even by the end of 2019."

    On Monday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia will most likely refrain from transiting gas through Ukraine to Europe once the current contract expires in 2019.

    Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns over Ukraine's lack of trustworthiness as a transit country. Currently, up to 40 percent of Russian gas is delivered to Europe through the Ukrainian territory.

    Kopac also said Ukraine will remain a transit country for Russian gas supplies to the European Union.

    On Monday, Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said Russia will most likely cease transiting gas through Ukraine to Europe when the current contract expires in 2019. Earlier, Gazprom announced plans to construct a new pipeline to deliver Russian gas to Turkey and customers in South Europe by means of a transit hub on the Turkish-Greek border.

    "I think these plans are not realistic. I am very much convinced that the transit to EU via Ukraine will continue," Kopac told RIA Novosti.

    According to the director, there is a legal problem with the so-called Turkish Stream pipeline, because consumers of gas in the EU have contracts with Gazprom that stipulate gas must be transited from Russia via Ukraine.

    “If Gazprom wants to change this after 2019 it would have to change the contracts and this is not an easy process, it is a big legal problem because some of these contracts are very long-term, up to 2030 or even beyond.”

    Kopac pointed out that infrastructure-related problems could hinder Gazprom from avoiding Ukrainian transit, since even if the Turkish stream has enough carrying capacity, new pipelines would need to be constructed from Turkey to EU countries, which is impossible in a four-year period.

    Kopac stressed that Russia will keep using Ukrainian transit for "at least the next 10-15 years."

    Russia has repeatedly expressed concerns over Ukraine's trustworthiness as a transit country. Currently, up to 40 percent of Russian gas is delivered to Europe through Ukrainian territory.

    The Energy Community is an international organization, which mission is to extend the EU internal energy market’s legal framework to South East Europe and beyond. Secretariat is the only Energy Community’s permanent institution.

    Related:

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    INTERVIEW: Russia, Turkey to Discuss Ukraine at Moscow Meeting
    Tags:
    gas pipeline, gas, Energy Community, Janez Kopac, Turkey, Ukraine, Russia
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