Ukraine’s gas transport infrastructure and underground gas storages can become the key pillars for strengthening European and regional energy security before the onset of the next winter. This was stated by Olga Bielkova, Director on Government and International Affairs of GTSOU, and Serhii Pereloma, Acting General Director of Ukrtransgaz, during a joint presentation at the meeting of the South-East European Gas (SEEGAS) Initiative.
“The Ukrainian gas transmission system already is governed by European gas market rules and serves as the basis for the development of a competitive, transparent and non-discriminatory domestic gas market. We can contribute to regional security of supply by transporting gas for short distances between CEE countries, integrating into the renewable gas industry, and providing access to gas storage facilities. Our joint efforts with the UGS operator are aimed at bringing in international traders – it’ a constructive response to russia’s destructive war against Ukraine,” outlined the prospects Ms. Bielkova.
According to the speaker, in order to further strengthen energy security of the Central-Eastern European region, Ukraine and its partners from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova have a task to strengthen cooperation with such countries as Lithuania, Turkey, Greece and even transatlantic partners.
Acting General Director of Ukrtransgaz, Serhii Pereloma, emphasized, “The system of Ukrainian UGS is of highest capacity in Europe and can store more than 10 billion cubic meters of gas from the EU. The new Regulation on gas storage by EU countries provides for the filling of gas storage facilities by 80% this year and 90% next year. Ukraine is a member of Energy Community and, accordingly, can become a full participant in the process of creating a safety stock of gas for the EU. For this purpose, Ukrtransgaz must first be certified as a gas storage operator. And the preparation process has already started.”
Ukrtransgaz already has contracts with more than a hundred foreign customers of gas storage services from 28 countries. Among them are all the participating countries of the SEEGAS initiative, which confirmed their interest in further expanding the partnership during the meeting.
GTSOU Director also informed about the interest of Ukrainian traders in obtaining access to LNG facilities. Therefore, to transport gas from the Lithuanian floating LNG terminal in Klaipėda to Ukraine and from the Polish LNG terminal in Świnoujście, the guaranteed capacities on a long-term basis should be increased.
In addition, there is considerable interest in potential gas supplies from Greece and Turkey via the Trans -Balkan Pipeline. In order to use this route, it is essential that the Bulgarian and Turkish operators sign Interconnection Agreements. It is necessary to ensure the possibility of transporting natural gas from the South to the North at the interconnection points linking Turkey and Bulgaria, Bulgaria and Romania, Ukraine and Romania, Ukraine and Romania, as well as Moldova and Ukraine. With this in mind, the speaker hopes that the legal restrictions on ensuring a virtual reverse flows between the Moldovan and Ukrainian interconnection points will soon be resolved.
Olga Bielkova emphasized that, for its part, Gas TSO of Ukraine has fulfilled its “homework” regarding the increase of capacities on the Trans -Balkan route at the point of connection with Moldova “Hrebenyky”. From August 1, the capacity will be increased to 6.12 million cubic meters per day, and up to 20 million cubic meters per day by the end of August 2022.
“Ukraine is not a problem, but a solution to stabilize the market in Europe. However, our common task now is to preserve the Ukrainian gas transport infrastructure from being destroyed by the russian occupiers. Not enough has been done so far, because gas is still supplied to the EU through Nord Stream 1, despite pressure and blackmail from russia. In order to protect the GTS from destruction and thus save Ukraine from a humanitarian disaster, we call for the cancellation of the exemption from the German legislation granted to Nord Stream-1 and for the russian gas pipeline to be halted. Over the years of work, we have proven our reliability as a company that fulfills its obligations despite any circumstances,” Olga Bielkova addressed international partners.