geopolitics-00145
Turkish stream 1 and 2

MOSCOW, Apr 18 – RIA Novosti, Natalia Dembinskaya. After the launch of all Russian transit gas pipelines, pumping through Ukraine will be reduced to a minimum. Blue fuel is already bypassing the “Turkish stream”. Next in line are new branches and the launch of “North Stream – 2”. Experts state that while Naftogaz has been playing politics, the Ukrainian gas transportation system has almost collapsed, and it will soon be useless to serve the networks. Why Kiev found itself in such a situation and whether there is a way out – RIA Novosti understood.
It collapsed to a minimum
In 2020, Russia’s transit to Europe through the Ukrainian gas transportation system has shrunk by more than a third to 55.8 billion cubic meters. This is the lowest figure in thirty years, and in previous years it was at least 90 billion. As the head of “GTS Ukraine Operator” Sergei Makogon stressed, even in the crisis of 2014, 62 billion was pumped, despite “all the efforts of” Gazprom “to reduce gas supplies to the EU to prevent reverse from Europe.”

The fall is really a record. With a GTS design capacity of 146 billion, the load is less than 30 percent.
It happened for several reasons. It should have been 65 billion. However, due to the late signing of the agreement with Gazprom in the first quarter (especially in January and February), the physical flows of Russian exports were distributed without Ukrainian transit. In addition, the warm winter with quarantine reduced gas demand in Europe and Asia, bringing down prices in the first half. And Ukrainian transit is the most expensive option and is loaded on a residual basis.
Get rid of transit
In 2021, the situation did not improve. In February, pumping was reduced by a quarter compared to January. After the completion of the construction of the Turkish Stream pipeline in Serbia and Bulgaria, Kiev, according to the Ukrainians themselves, will lose another ten to twelve billion cubic meters per year.
Gazprom is already sending gas to Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina on a new route: “Turkish Stream”, then on the national gas transportation system of Bulgaria – to Serbia, as well as Bosnia and Herzegovina.

And this is just the beginning, warned in a review for the Ukrainian press co-founder of the Institute of Energy Strategies Yuri Korolchuk. Kiev lost the fight for transit. After the launch of all Russian gas pipelines, the pumping will become miserable. “The problems are not so much with Romania, but with Hungary and the Balkan countries, which will soon be able to take gas from the reverse gas pipelines-interconnectors connecting Central and Eastern Europe with the Turkish Stream,” Korolchuk explained.
It is important for Kiev not to allow the commissioning of Nord Stream-2. Although, as Korolchuk notes, in the situation of Ukraine it is simply meaningless: “What happened with the transit of gas – exclusively the fault of” Naftogaz “, because they went the political way and perform certain political tasks – the” North Stream ” to at least try to influence the construction of the “Turkish stream”, the gas to which was pumped not so long ago. “
“Upload or pay”
In the coming years, the loss of transit does not threaten Ukraine with special inconveniences: the contract signed with “Gazprom” until 2024 provides for the principle of “swing or pay”. So, for example, the Russian monopolist paid in full for the capacity booked for 2020.
“Because of the pandemic, they pumped more than ten billion cubic meters less than they collected. But taking into account the” swing or pay “norm, Gazprom laid out more than $ 2.5 billion,” said Sergei Pikin, director of the Russian Energy Fund.
The contract with a minimum of 40 billion cubic meters is valid for another four years. However, when the pipe with a total capacity of 55 billion a year is launched, the scenario is pessimistic.
“By and large, Gazprom has only three consumers, whose blue fuel makes sense to transport through Ukraine: Moldova, Romania and Hungary. Natural gas consumption in Moldova is relatively small – about a billion cubic meters per year and more.” It has a reverse gas pipeline connected to the south of Moldova.

“Hungary remains, but if the” Balkan Stream “, which is responsible for” Turkish “, reaches it, the need for Ukrainian transit will finally disappear,” said Leonid Khazanov, an independent industrial expert.

Backup system
After the expiration of the contract with Gazprom, GTS of Ukraine will become a backup system with a maximum load of 20 billion cubic meters per year. After all, revenues from transit still allow Kiev to maintain the GTS in working order.
“Then you will have to either preserve it and switch to the purchase of liquefied natural gas (own production does not fully cover consumption), which is more expensive than the pipeline, or negotiate with Gazprom.” policy of Ukraine “, – Khazanov speaks.
According to Korolchuk, the only option to increase transit is to increase gas consumption in the EU from 450 to 500 billion cubic meters. This will give Ukraine a chance to pump at least 30 billion cubic meters. “But the question is whether Russia wants to increase production or prefers LNG supplies, which are now actively increasing. That is, one way or another, Kiev has already dropped out of the game,” said the analyst.
Russian experts also point out that even if transit is maintained for some time for political reasons, Ukraine as a mediator still has no future: the European market is changing rapidly. As a last resort, Russia will supply LNG or even hydrogen fuel to Europe. And Ukraine has nothing to do with the half-ruined GTS.