Records for gas supplies to Europe, which throughout January boasted Gazprom, in the near future will not happen again. The culprit turned out to be Poland, because of a lawsuit which Gazprom has blocked full access to critical pipeline on the territory of Germany. However, paradoxically, the poles much more harm to themselves and even Ukraine.
Gazprom from 1 February reduced transportation on OPAL pipeline in connection with the cancellation of auctions in February by the decision of the European court. According to the highway operator OPAL Gastransport GmbH, before the download of the OPAL was nearly 99%, and since February 1, has fallen to 63.6%.
“It’s a blow to European consumers, who will have to pay more for gas”
At the same time, other gas transit corridors remained unchanged, said in Gazprom. In particular, the transit through Ukraine has not changed. Even in the days of record-high supply of Russian gas to Europe since the beginning of year download Ukrainian corridor never rose above 160 million cubic meters per day.
OPAL with a capacity of 36 billion cubic meters a year – a continuation of the “Nord stream” on the territory of Germany. The gas enters the gas transmission system in Central and Western Europe.
The EC had earlier allowed Gazprom to use only half of the capacity of the pipe, the second half was just idle. According to the norms of the Third energy package of the EU 100% of the capacity of the pipe can not be transferred to use one company because of the threat of monopoly. It is logical that because of this it was not possible to make full use of “Nord stream”.
But in October, the EC found a way out of this impasse: the second half of the capacity (40%), it was possible to distribute through auctions, which were allowed to participate in any suppliers, including Gazprom. Gazprom immediately began to use the additional capacity OPAL. And now the auction for Feb (16 Jan) could not be held due to an injunction.
And the thing is that the Polish PGNiG and the Polish government in December appealed the decision of the European Commission in the European court, resulting in the decision to expand access for Gazprom to the OPAL pipeline was suspended. More precisely, it was prohibited to carry out auctions on distribution of the second half of capacity in February. This led to reduction of Russian gas supplies to Europe.
And Poland contests the decision of the European Commission, which believes in the lawfulness of its decision on the OPAL. But until the court decides otherwise, the operator OPAL will not be able to sell it at auction, and Gazprom will have only half to keep the pipelines. The whole January, Europe took the Russian gas in full volume, daily deliveries to Gazprom took one record after another. Now, obviously the supply will fall.
“Some weather improvement is expected, this means that Europe will have to take extra gas in another place – either to increase imports or even harder to start to take gas from underground storage. Or in the end to reduce consumption. Of course, this creates energy security risks”, – said Deputy Director of the national energy security Fund Alexei Grivach.
These risks have already started to affect the cost of fuel. Only in the last three days, the price of gas on the European spot market has grown by 15%. By the end of December the prices on the spot market rose to 190 euros in January from 200 to 220-230 Euro by the end of the month. And in February, experts predict, can and to 300 within.
Theoretically, the threat to Europe’s energy security may become an argument for the court to lift restrictions on auctions or at least speed up the decision.
However, the limitations anyway, but will be cancelled because the arguments of Poland untenable. “I think poles understand this perfectly. So they will just tighten the judicial process”, – says Alexei Grivach. Not coincidentally, the Polish side immediately filed three lawsuits against the decision on the OPAL, because it gives you more opportunities to waste time.
Warsaw insists that Gazprom is using the maximum power OPAL, harming the boot Polish transit routes. In fact it is not. Russian gas to Poland goes on a pipe “Yamal–Europe” through Belarus. And download passing through Poland highway is steadily maintained at the maximum.
“Poland could lose this transit only because of their own actions. Because the poles themselves did not renew the contract with Russia for the transit, which is valid until 2022,” recalls Grivach. Recently, Polish politicians have begun to argue that cost do without Russian gas transit contract. Then why are they so worried about their non-existent losses due to OPAL?
Moreover, this policy decision will hurt Polish consumers. “Part of the gas poles buy (as if) through the reverse of in Germany, price of which is tied to the price of the spot platform. So will take the gas more expensive”, – explains the interlocutor of the newspaper VIEW.
Moreover, Poland hurts Ukraine itself, which seemingly wants to help. “Ukraine is in December, paid for the gas reverse from Europe for 230 dollars per thousand cubic meters. Now will have to pay under $ 300 because of rising prices on European hubs,” says Alexei Grivach.