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    An employee tightens the valve on a pipeline at the Bilche-Volytsko-Uherske underground gas storage facility, the largest in Europe, not far from the village of Bilche village, in the Lviv region of western Ukraine, on May 21, 2014

    Why Russia's Gazprom Plans to Slash Volumes of Its Gas Transit Through Ukraine

    © AFP 2017/ ALEXANDER ZOBIN
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    In an interview with Sputnik, Russian energy expert Alexey Grivach commented on the Russian energy giant Gazprom's recent decision to reduce its transit gas supplies via Ukraine by 2020. He said that Gazprom building its new pipelines will add significantly to Europe's energy security.

    RIA Novosti quoted Gazprom chief executive Alexey Miller as saying earlier this week that the company plans to continue its gas transit through Ukraine after 2019, but in much smaller quantities, namely, about 15 billion cubic meters per year.

    He attributed the decrease in Gazprom transit supplies to the fact that an ever-increasing share of hydrocarbons is extracted in Russia's Yamal Peninsula.

    Gazprom plans to build two new offshore gas pipelines for supplies to Europe — along the bottom of the Baltic and the Black Seas.The issue of concluding a new transit contract with Ukraine to replace the current document, which expires in 2019, has yet to be resolved.

    Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller
    © Sputnik/ Artem Jitenev
    Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller

    In February 2016, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine to the EU could be in place after 2019, if it is economically feasible.

    Speaking to Sputnik, Alexey Grivach, Deputy Director General of Russia's National Energy Security Fund, Ukraine has repeatedly showed itself to be an unpredictable negotiator.

    "The Russian side, for its part, shows flexibility by trying to meet the demands of Europeans who are trying to save face and their political obligations with respect to Kiev, including promises to support Ukrainian transit. In any case, the Russian side is ready for constructive negotiations, which should be conducted on an economic basis," he said.

    Grivach pointed out that a certain proportion of gas can be supplied to Europe through Ukraine only if the new gas pipelines are constructed.

    "This will increase the security of Russian gas supplies to Europe under existing contracts," he said referring to the "abnormal situation" each winter, when the company urgently concludes "a winter package," pumps gas into storage facilities and fears February frosts.

    Besides, "the absence of the infrastructure for transit is music to a blackmailer's ears because in this case, neither Russia nor Europe will have any chance to provide a stable supply of gas to the European market," Grivach concluded.

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    gas piplines, facilities, supplies, energy security, situation, Gazprom, Ukraine, Russia
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