Under a new agreement, Ukraine wants to receive blue fuel from overseas.
On the last day of summer, August 31, representatives of the governments of Poland, the USA and Ukraine will sign in Warsaw “an agreement on cooperation with the aim of strengthening the regional security of natural gas supplies.” The relevant information was circulated the day before by the bureau of the representative of the Polish cabinet on strategic energy infrastructure, Peter Naimsky – he just has to affix his signature to a new document on behalf of Warsaw.
From the American side, it will be Energy Minister Rick Perry – the one who came to the inauguration of Ukrainian President Zelensky instead of Trump. And for Kiev, the newly appointed Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine (NSDC), Alexander Danilyuk, will sign.
In fact, this is all the continuation of the story that Poland will sell the “non-blocking” regasified liquefied natural gas (LNG), which the republic buys from the United States.
The fact that such an agreement was reached was reported on Friday at the Polish energy company PGNIG. The statement also indicates that the first batch of LNG destined for Ukraine will arrive in the tanker from the United States in November. It will be regasified and transferred to Ukraine through a point in Germanovice.
In general, the plans that were discussed in May after the inauguration of the newly elected (at that time) Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky, the head of Naftogaz Andrei Kobolev, and US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry are gradually starting to be realized. And then they were discussing just the import of American LNG from the Polish terminal to Ukraine.
Moreover, the volumes of possible deliveries were not announced either then or now.
Although the same Naimsky later declared that Warsaw was ready to launch a gas pipeline with a throughput capacity of 2 billion cubic meters for gas supplies to Ukraine.
But this, according to RT deputy director general of the Institute of National Energy Alexander Frolov, “only 20% of the volume of imported gas that Ukraine now needs.”
And, it is completely incomprehensible, according to the expert, where will they take the rest “in the event of a conflict with Russia and problems with transit.” Because “physical deliveries of LNG to Ukraine and virtual deliveries of reverse gas from Europe will be very problematic.”
But instead of sitting at the negotiating table with Russia under a new contract, Kiev arranges demonstrative “maneuvers” in the event of a complete suspension of transit.
Just the day before, according to the press service of Naftogaz, the company held a joint exercise with Ukrtransgaz, “during which they worked out the procedures for dispatchers and other services of the Operator of the Ukrainian GTS in the event that Gazprom stops transit through Ukraine to the EU from 1 January 2020. ”
For some reason they are sure that these games should help the “independent” survive the next heating season under any force majeure circumstances.
Meanwhile, a real threat to freeze this winter hung over President Zelensky’s hometown Krivoy Rog. The local heating center owed Naftogaz a record amount of 1.76 billion hryvnias (almost $ 70 million), and the monopolist promises to cut off gas supplies until the debt is paid off. That is, the city risks being left without central heating in the upcoming heating season.
But for some reason, the Ukrainian authorities are worried about the ephemeral “regional security of gas supplies.” But not whether, in fact, the citizens of the country will be provided with heat, light and hot water during this autumn-winter period …
To comment on the situation with the supply of American LNG to Ukraine, the Deputy General Director for Gas Issues of the National Energy Security Fund (NESF) Alexey Grivach told:
– This process, it seems to me, indicates that the United States is making a very serious bet on the transit crisis, which could happen this winter due to the fact that the transit contract is ending, and, accordingly, negotiations are still clearly did not start.
At first, there was a political cycle in Ukraine, and a double one – everyone was waiting for it to end. And the Ukrainian side has not yet formed either a negotiating position, or a team that will negotiate.
Moreover, the United States, which has a serious influence on Kiev, as everyone understands, is extremely interested in this transit crisis. And here there are two components: political – in order to undermine the reputation of Russian gas in Europe. On the other hand, economic.
The fact is that now the liquefied gas that goes to Europe is sold at a very low price. And the suppliers of this gas suffer enormous losses.
If a transit crisis occurs, part of the Russian gas will not be piped to Europe, and this will lead to an increase in gas prices. Accordingly, there is a direct commercial interest.
Naturally, this is not in the interests of either Russia, Ukraine, or Europe. Because for all these participants, this is a loss. Only the United States directly wins.
The fact that Ukraine, instead of acting as a responsible transit country and preparing to continue transit under any conditions, is engaged in such activities, this is a bad signal. Bad for Russia, Europe and Ukraine itself.
– Does this mean that the stalemate, due to the fact that the new contract will not be signed, can still develop?
– It can’t “turn out” – it’s wrong. They are trying to “fold” it this way. And the point is not in the supply of American LNG. This is a game.
Now, as you know, Ukraine is buying Russian gas from Poland by reverse. There, of course, it is not written that it is Russian gas, but physically it is Russian. The very one that goes through Ukraine to Polish territory is driven there “in the ring” and returned – that is, on papers, it only turns out that Poland is selling gas to Ukraine. In the same way, it buys gas on the border of Slovakia and on the border with Hungary.
Now, if there is a shortage of Russian gas in Europe, then, firstly, it will lead to higher prices. And most importantly, this gas will also be lacking in order to reverse Ukraine.
Therefore, American LNG from Poland is all PR campaigns. Maybe they will even physically supply some volume of gas to show that, they say, “we support the energy independence of Ukraine,” but it is impossible to maintain this system in the long run.
Because the gas shortage in Europe in such a volume is problematic to fill.
– In general, it seems that Kiev is not going to sign a new contract. Four months before the final whistle, no progress is planned in the negotiation process. And how should we behave?
– Unfortunately, Russia in this sense has no way to influence the behavior of the Ukrainian side. But, in theory, Europeans have such an opportunity and even a need.
Because the way Ukrainian authorities and Ukrainian companies behave is a challenge. Including Europeans. And of course, more active actions are required from them.
They have already tactfully hinted several times that Ukraine is doing the wrong thing. Remember, letters from traders, a statement from the Secretariat of the Energy Charter and from representatives of the European Commission?
But this is not enough. These efforts should be more ambitious, more, so to speak, effective. Because the transit crisis, it is completely not in the interests of Europe.
And not even in the interests of Ukraine, I repeat. It’s kind of silly, you see, to allow Ukrainians to act in the interests of the USA and against the interests of Russia and Europe.
– But Ukraine often recently “freezes ears spite grandmother” …
– No, this is not even that … Rather, Ukraine simply plays the role of a laboratory rat, which is not a pity to put to the experiments.
– The new government is finally formed in Ukraine. Do you think this will speed up the resolution of the transit issue?
- In any case, this means that negotiations can begin. And this is just the right moment for the Europeans to influence the negotiability of the Ukrainian authorities. And the same negotiation team. Somehow to stimulate them in the right direction. I understand that they have leverage, which means they have to be converted into specific steps for now.