German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomed the results of the gas talks between Ukraine and Russia, German government spokesperson Ulrike Demmer wrote on Twitter on December 31.
“I [Angela Merkel] am glad that the talks on the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine, which have been held for a year and a half, could now be successfully concluded,” reads Merkel’s statement posted by Demmer.
Merkel also noted that the continuation of gas transit through Ukraine from January 1, 2020 is “a good and important signal for ensuring our gas supply security in Europe.”
She thanked the Russian and Ukrainian governments, Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič, Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier and other participants for the successful results of the talks.
As reported, Russia’s Gazprom, NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy, Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine LLC (GTSOU) and the Justice Ministry of Ukraine signed a package of documents that allow to continue gas transit via Ukraine after December 31, 2019, consistent with the protocol signed on December 20, 2019.
“Five days of continuous bilateral negotiations in Vienna have resulted in final decisions and final agreements. Also, the sides have signed a package of agreements and contracts as a big package deal, which restores balance of interests. The documents take effect today to ensure Russian gas transit via Ukraine after December 31, 2019,” Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller told the press.
Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU), which replaced Ukrtransgaz as the operator of the Ukrainian gas transmission system on January 1, 2020, has reported continuation of Russian gas transit under the new agreement reached between Russia’s Gazprom and NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy in furtherance of the previous ten-year contract.
“We have transported the first cubic meters of gas to the EU under the new gas contract consistent with European regulations. The gas transmission system is operating normally,” the operator said in a statement on Facebook on Wednesday.
Gas talks with Ukraine will continue in Minsk on Friday, Gazprom told reporters. “The negotiations are not technical. The level is high. Gazprom to be represented by CEO Alexei Miller,” the company said. Late on Thursday, the parties in Berlin agreed on a protocol on the whole range of gas issues between Russia and Ukraine that should be approved at the highest level.
“We really did a very good job today, prepared a draft protocol, a detailed protocol that is almost ready, which currently needs to be agreed upon, and I hope that we will come to final agreements in the near future,” Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said following the talks in Berlin.
As reported, Berlin on Thursday hosted Russian-Ukrainian gas negotiations with the participation of Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier, Commissioner of the German Government for Gas Transit across Ukraine Georg Graf Waldersee, and Vice-President of the European Commission Maroš Šefčovič.
The Russian side was represented by Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak. Minister of Energy and Environmental Protection of Ukraine Oleksiy Orzhel, Executive Director of NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy Yuriy Vitrenko, and CEO of LLC Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (TSO of Ukraine) Serhiy Makogon acted on behalf of Ukraine.
Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine LLC (TSO of Ukraine) and Romania’s Transgaz have signed an interconnection agreement meeting European rules to start cooperation from January 1, 2020. The Ukrainian operator recalled that the negotiations with the mediation of the European Commission have been going on for three years. Operators of Bulgaria, Greece and Moldova have also been involved in them.
“This means that all suppliers have the opportunity of freely transporting gas with a new supply route – from Southern Europe and Turkey – through Bulgaria and Romania – to Ukraine and further to Moldova. That is, from January 1, at the Isaccea 1-Orlivka 1 interstate point a daily capacity on the Ukraine-Romania route in the amount of 17.8 million cubic meters will be available, as well as 15.8 million cubic meters per day in the opposite direction,” the operator said.
The first auctions for booking capacities at the Isaccea 1-Orlivka 1 point should be held in the coming days.
The operator said that the agreement previously signed between the gas transmission system operators of Ukraine and Romania did not allow gas to be transported in the reverse mode, and also did not provide European rules for interaction, since such an opportunity was blocked by the current contract between Naftogaz Ukrainy and PJSC Gazprom.
In addition, such an agreement creates an additional technical opportunity for Moldova to alternatively import gas for its own needs from Turkey and Greece if Gazprom stops transit to Europe through Ukraine.
“This decision is historic and extremely important, because it allows you to create an additional route for gas imports to Ukraine, primarily to provide gas to Moldovan consumers and border consumers of Ukraine in Odesa region. This will allow winter to pass uninterruptedly, even if the gas transit could be stopped from the Russian Federation,” Director General of TSO of Ukraine Serhiy Makohon said.
NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy in 2020 plans to create an exchange to trade with gas, Head of Naftogaz integrated gas business unit Andriy Favorov has said.
“Our idea, our strategy, is that next year we will create an exchange where Naftogaz will act as a buyer and seller of gas,” he said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
According to him, the decision has already been approved by the board and the supervisory board of the company. The required preparatory work is ongoing to launch the exchange. In particular, a tender was held to implement the ETRM (Energy Trade Risk Management) system, which will take into account all transactions and market fluctuations.
“The introduction of this system will give us the required tools to control commercial risks,” Favorov said.
NJSC Naftogaz Ukrainy has reduced the price of gas for households and heating companies by 13% in December compared with the price in November, to UAH 4,277 per 1,000 cubic meters (excluding VAT, transportation costs and gas sellers’ margins), the company said in a press release.
“Despite the fact that according to the results of exchange trading, the market price of gas in the Ukrainian market did not decrease over the past month, the regulated price in December 2019 decreased in accordance with the declared value of gas cleared in November,” Naftogaz noted.
The company noted that this price level is not market and is determined according to the formula established by the Cabinet of Ministers in its resolution No. 293. In particular, according to the document, the population and heating companies purchase gas at the minimum of four prevailing in the market value: the average import price according to the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the price of Naftogaz Ukrainy for industry, the average weighted price at the auctions on the Ukrainian Energy Exchange, PSO under resolution No. 867. This mechanism of social price formation is valid until the end of 2019. From January 1, 2020, in accordance with agreements with the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine will switch to market pricing for household consumers.