Is the Ukrainian GTS important for the EU?

Written by The Frontier Post

Kirill Grishin

See how the rhetoric of the official Kiev is changing. From fierce negativity aimed at stopping the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to much more pressing concerns. It seems that “we do not want to be left with an empty GTS,” which ensures the transit of Russian gas to Europe. They say, gentlemen Europeans, you need this. But Kiev can no longer “sell” this idea.

When the inevitability of the completion of Nord Stream 2 became clear, the Europeans began to attack the Europeans. And it would be fine, they did it gracefully and witty, but no. Clumsy and unprincipled. From Kiev, a warning was issued to the EU: they say, Europe may lose one of the transit routes. This was stated by the head of the country’s energy ministry German Galushchenko at a meeting with the state secretary of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy of Germany, Andreas Feicht.

And Galushchenko also said that the main risk to Europe’s energy security lies in the “Russian project” Nord Stream-2, that allegedly the redirection of raw materials flows “will provoke a gas shortage in some European countries.” Mr. Galushchenko urgently needs to be corrected: it will not be a deficit, but rather a surplus. And not a purely “Russian project”, but with the weighty participation of a number of large European shareholders. However, the words of the minister are the complaints of the representative of the country, which risks losing a lot. This is the status of a transit country, which clearly obliges a lot, and transit for Russian gas, which reached $ 4 billion a year.

Galushchenko is confident that the Ukrainian GTS can be optimized for the domestic market in order to transfer 30 billion cubic meters of gas annually. This statement smacks, to put it mildly, unprofessionalism. After all, such additional volumes are definitely not needed by anyone in Ukraine. And few of the Ukrainian industrial consumers are able to pay at the current tariffs, which are spurred on by external lenders.

For the GTS, there remains, in fact, only one option – “museum and exhibition” optimization. For the domestic entertainment market. To drive excursions to the GTS for, conditionally, 10 hryvnia. Show the world’s largest rusting pipe. Tell schoolchildren about how the insidious Russia left Ukraine without transit gas. These are spiritual bonds, this is important, even if it does not bring a lot of money to the treasury. Ask for subsidies to cover income shortfalls. Re-profiling of activity after all, but through the fault of the aggressor country.

Kiev states that the Ukrainian gas transportation system is currently underutilized, while possessing significant reserve capacities. But what to do with them – no one can think of anything intelligible. Previously, 60-70% of the system’s capacity was thought to be mothballed. Because there are no other technological options. Well, for example, look for ways to fill this pipe with alternative raw materials? It’s a troublesome business, long-term negotiations, and hypothetical exporters hardly need all of this. They will definitely take into account all political risks. To increase the production of our own gas in order to sell it abroad? There are no such volumes in Ukraine and never have been. All that remains is to engage in verbal interventions. For example, try to force the renegotiation of the contract for the transit of Russian gas.

But all sane people understand that there are several blocks left before the actual launch of Nord Stream 2. When the importance of Ukrainian transit will be especially important only for the local treasury and officials, who in a couple of years will remain with the world’s largest pile of scrap metal.

Courtesy: (Sputnik radio)

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