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Sunday, February 18, 2018

Gazprom turns the opponents of Nord stream – 2″ in its allies

One of the most ardent opponents of the Nord stream – 2 – Slovakia, apparently, gave in and agreed to support crucial for Russian interests in the project. Gazprom is trying to repay a political attack against the “Nord stream – 2” the economic arguments – and, it seems, quite successfully. What he found arguments?

Gazprom and the operator of the gas transportation network of Slovakia Eustream agreed on the use of the Slovak gas transmission capacities in the framework of the project “Northern stream – 2” in the long term, said the head of Gazprom Alexey Miller. “If the parties have agreed, therefore, considered that the agreement is mutually beneficial,” he added, refusing to specify the details of the agreement.

“Brexit means strengthening Germany’s role and reduce the role of Brussels. Brexit could seriously help the “Nord stream – 2”

Slovakia transportorul to Europe the Russian gas, going transit through Ukraine. Gazprom plans to build the Nord stream – 2″ to replace Ukrainian transit meant the loss of Slovakia, income from transit. It is not surprising that Slovakia was one of the fiercest opponents of the “Nord stream – 2”.

The Minister of economy of the Slovak Republic vazil hudák earlier complained that the country will lose 400 million dollars (360 million euros) a year because of the emergence of the “Nord stream – 2”. The Minister of economic development Alexei Ulyukayev in a recent meeting with a colleague in Bratislava, said Slovakia receives every year 700-800 million euros from transit.

Discrepancies can be explained by the fact that Ukraine is already transportere through to Slovakia only half of the total Slovak transit. So, the other half goes to Slovakia via launched in 2012 the first “Nord stream”.

For their own needs Slovakia bought from Gazprom last year, 3.8 billion cubic meters of gas. Transit through Slovakia passed 37.8 billion cubic meters. It is not excluded that the part of the Russian gas from Nord stream goes through Slovakia and Ukraine in the form of reverse gas. But it is unprofitable (and therefore unlikely). Much cheaper scheme virtual reverse based on the securities of the gas flows from Slovakia to Ukraine, but Ukraine selects the specified volume from its transit pipeline, thus both sides will save on shipping). Slovak operator Eustream has launched a large-scale reverse gas to Ukraine in September 2014. In 2015, Ukraine has bought from Slovakia so 9.7 billion cubic meters of gas. For comparison, from Hungary it’s only 0.5 billion cubic meters of reverse from Poland – 0.1 billion cubic meters.

Cooperation of Gazprom with Slovakia in the framework of the Nord stream – 2″ provides for the flow of gas through Germany to the Czech Republic and the Slovakia to the Austrian hub Baumgarten (in the contracts of Gazprom, as a rule, is a point of admission of gas to European consumers).

Thus, for Slovakia there is no question of loss of income from the transit after the termination of transit of gas through Ukraine in 2020. Gazprom turns once one of the most outspoken opponents of the Nord stream – 2″ in ally.

Brexit helped Slovakia to make the right choice

In fact, Bratislava is selling Ukraine, which not so long ago, zealously supported. However, in this case, nothing personal, the benefits outweigh political considerations.

Slovakia was at a crossroads. “The first way is to continue to fight with the Nord stream – 2″ and expect that Brussels will block the project. But if this path will fail and Nord stream – 2 will be constructed, Slovakia is no longer in transit and income. Because we have enough of Czech Republic, Austrian hub gas can go without Slovakia. And connect Slovakia to the transit or not is a question of goodwill of Gazprom”, – says the newspaper VIEW CEO of national energy security Fund Konstantin Simonov.

According to the signed agreement, Bratislava chose the second, more advantageous way. Slovakia realized that the Nord stream – 2″ will inevitably be built, and the transit through Ukraine will be, if not completely closed, it is significantly reduced. So – and through Slovakia.

It is not excluded that to make the right choice Bratislava helped the referendum in the UK. “Brexit means strengthening Germany’s role and reduce the role of Brussels. Brexit could seriously help the “Nord stream – 2″, because Germany is the main economic lobbyist for this project,” Simonov said.

The intrigue is that Slovakia for the Nord stream – 2″, in fact, unnecessary transit link. Therefore, the agreement in the framework of this project with Gazprom can be considered as support (in other words, bribery), Moscow, Bratislava.

Now the transit of Russian gas across the territory of Slovakia, and Germany will only go to Slovakia. That is, the distance to transit through Slovakia from the Nord stream – 2 will be in any case smaller, and the cost of transit depends on mileage. Therefore, the agreement between Moscow and Bratislava deal primarily with the tariff for transit. Now the rate is per 100 km of transit.

“But if you pay for the transit mileage, Slovakia loses its current income. So Bratislava wanted Gazprom to pay the network tariff, that is, the passage of gas in 100 km, and for the passage of gas through the country, and thus saved Slovakia the same amount of money as now, but for less kilometers,” – said the head of the NESF.

Poland on the way

Poland, according to the expert, is also beginning to understand that if you do not participate in the project “Northern stream – 2 now, you’ll be an outsider. Warsaw has already probes the ground in order not to remain disappointed together with Ukraine.

Two independent and public source was told that Warsaw has expressed the desire to buy the gas coming through Nord stream – 2″. Although Poland itself, for obvious reasons, yet seeks to hide such an interest in this project.

Poland to negotiate harder, admits Simonov. First, there is a very strong anti-political mood. Secondly, for her care of Ukraine from the transit is not so critical. After all, Poland is powered mainly on the Belarusian pipe.

“Poland is a transit country within the Northern stream – 2″, the story is different than with Slovakia. Poland wants to become a recipient of Russian gas through the Nord stream – 2″. So here is a bargain for the price and volume of Russian gas supplies”, – says Konstantin Simonov.

All Polish attempts to get rid of Russian gas suffered a severe setback. This project of LNG terminal in Swinoujscie, according to which Qatar would supply only 1.5 billion cubic meters of gas significantly more expensive than Gazprom’s. Plans to build a pipeline to link Poland with the Norwegian shelf so far only on paper – it is expensive and does not guarantee the supply of cheap gas.

For refusing to discharge the political hype around the “Nord stream – 2” and in General, for lower degrees of political negativity against Russia Gazprom may offer a good price on gas. Second, at least guarantee the preservation of the Polish transit of Russian gas from Belarus, with a maximum increase of transit. Warsaw, unlike in Slovakia, the choice not yet made. But to give it to her extremely hard.

The rest will surrender themselves

Except Slovakia and Poland, against the “Nord stream – 2 was also made by the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria and Greece. In March almost all of them signed the appropriate letter to the head of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker.

As for the Czech Republic, it has long been included in the project “Northern stream – 2”, a route which in the form of OPAL pipeline 2 will pass through Germany and Czech Republic at the Austrian hub Baumgarten. This country need a tube. “Czech Republic this letter against the “Nord stream – 2″ was signed under pressure. Because it is not necessary. I’m with the Czechs firmly communicating, they say that they just waiting for the Nord stream – 2″ build. Politically they just said that it is necessary to sign the letter, had nowhere to go,” explains Simonov.

Hungary, in his opinion, also signed up against the pipe under political pressure. “The Prime Minister of Hungary, and so accusing that he was an agent of Putin. Therefore, from Hungary it was a reputational decision – to sign a non-binding letter. But as Hungary will receive gas from Baumgarten, it can easily surrender Ukraine”, – said the expert.

With regard to the Baltic States, they are ready to sign any document if he is against Russia. “Neither Ukraine nor the Nord stream – 2″ does not have any relationship at all to the Baltic States. They receive gas via other routes, and this story has nothing to do with cost,” explains the source. Here to negotiate, apparently, meaningless.

Greece and Bulgaria are dependent on Ukrainian transit will receive Russian gas through Ukraine, but the Nord stream – 2″ this problem does not affect. “This part of the volume of the Nord stream – 2” does not take, it’s just a question of the “South” and the “Turkish stream”, – says Simonov.

By 2020, terminated the validity of the transit agreement between Kiev and Moscow and should earn a second pipe “Nord stream”. Gazprom said that it did not mean the complete closure of transit through Ukraine, the Ukraine can survive the transit of 10-15 billion cubic meters of gas (just for supplies in South-Eastern Europe), unless, of course, will never be revived one of the southern projects of Gazprom (“Turkish” or “South stream”).

“I do not exclude that in the end we will build “South Turkish stream” as I call it. It will be the best option. Two tubes will run parallel to the bottom of the Black sea, and then near the Turkish-Bulgarian waters diverge – one pipe goes to the left to Turkey and moving to Bulgaria. And this thread will take care of Turkish, Bulgarian, Greek and Balkan volumes of gas (which now go through Ukraine). Roughly 15 billion cubic meters will go to Turkey, 15 billion to Bulgaria and further”, – says the head of the NESF.

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