Hungary has included the railway in the list of possible transit routes for Ukrainian citizens, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said.
“A week ago, Peter Szijjarto and I agreed that Hungary would allow transit to Austria for Ukrainians traveling by train. The Hungarian government has fulfilled the agreement and included the railway in transit routes just when the visa-free regime is being restored. We are expanding the freedom of travel of Ukrainians,” Kuleba wrote in Twitter on Thursday.
Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) has again refused to book additional transit capacity via Ukraine for July despite the upcoming major repairs on export gas pipelines, according to data of the Regional Booking Platform.
Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine LLC on Tuesday put up for auction additional interruptible transit capacities for July totaling 63.7 million cubic meters per day, which were fully unclaimed.
Russia’s state-owned gas company has a long-term booking capacity of 40 billion cubic meters via Ukraine for 2021 at 109 million cubic meters per day, having booked an additional 15 million cubic meters per day at the June 21 auction for a total of 124 million cubic meters per day. Gazprom in June has been pumping an average of 124 million cubic meters per day via Ukraine at the fully booked volume.
When an auction for solid capacities is 100% sold, then an auction for interruptible capacities may be organized depending on the capabilities of the gas transmission system operator.
Gazprom earlier this year did not book interruptible capacities during the auctions held for May and June. However, major repairs are scheduled for July along the concern’s main export trunklines. For example, Nord Stream, which pumps 170 million cubic meters per day, is scheduled for annual maintenance from July 13 to 23; and Yamal-Europe, which pumps around 100 million cubic meters per day, is scheduled for maintenance from July 6 to 10.
The balance of the European gas market is becoming increasingly tense because of the unusual seasonal regularity of falling LNG supplies, and supplies of pipeline gas are decreasing owing to scheduled repairs. Pumping of gas into underground storage facilities is at minimum levels, leaving little doubt that Europe could begin the new winter season with half-empty UGS facilities.
The European Union has officially published its list of sectoral sanctions against Belarus.
In line with the decision of the EU Council, which was published in the EU’s official journal, the ban on import or transit from Belarus of highly significant export goods for the country, petroleum products and potash fertilizers, applies to contracts signed after June 25, 2021. The EU sanctions thus do not apply to current contracts for supplies of petroleum products and potash fertilizers.
“It shall be prohibited […] to transport petroleum products if they originate in Belarus, or are being exported from Belarus to any other country; to provide, directly or indirectly, technical assistance, brokering services, financing or financial assistance, including financial derivatives, as well as insurance and re-insurance […]. The prohibitions […] shall be without prejudice to the execution of contracts concluded before June 25, 2021, or ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts,” the document said.
Similar sanctions are envisaged for potash fertilizers from Belarus. “It shall be prohibited to import, purchase or transfer, directly or indirectly, potassium chloride (‘potash’) products […] from Belarus, whether or not originating in Belarus. The prohibitions […] shall be without prejudice to the execution of contracts concluded before June 25, 2021, or ancillary contracts necessary for the execution of such contracts,” it said.
Ukraine should remain a transit country for Russian gas, and Berlin expects the transit agreement with Russia to be extended, the German government’s official representative, Steffen Seibert, told reporters on Monday in Berlin.
“It remains central for the German government that Ukraine remain a transit country even following the completion of construction on Nord Stream 2. There is a transit agreement,” Seibert said.
The representative said that the current transit agreement “is valid at least until 2024, though the agreement envisages that the parties will review the possibility of extending the agreement until 2034.”
“We expect the agreement to be extended,” Seibert said.
The Slovak Republic has always been a reliable transit country for Russian gas to the West through Ukraine, and it is interested in maintaining this transit through Ukraine, said Prime Minister of Slovakia Eduard Heger.
“As for the Nord Stream 2 Project, it is not in the hands of Slovakia to decide. Slovakia has always been a reliable transit country for the Russian gas to the West through the territory of Ukraine and we are definitely interested in keeping this gas transit through Ukraine. We believe the transit contract between Russia and Ukraine will be fulfilled further on,” Heger said in an exclusive interview with Interfax-Ukraine.
Consignors – which can only be Gazprom – have not been interested by offers of additional capacities for gas transportation through Ukraine for June from Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU).
Gazprom has a long-term reservation of Ukrainian capacities in the volume of 40 billion cubic meters for 2021, which is equal to 109 million cubic meters per day. The company additionally booked 15 mcm at auction on May 17, giving a total of 124 mcm per day.
GTSOU offered an additional 63.7 mcm per day at the monthly auction on Tuesday; however, there were no bids for this. The outcome of the last major additional auction a month ago was the same.
The announcement of this auction – with the prospect of significant supply growth on the European market – and its outcome have a substantial influence on spot prices for gas on the European market. They reduce under pressure of the appearance of potential new supply and rebound following an unsuccessful auction. Meanwhile, Gazprom prefers not to comment on its plans regarding short-term reservation of Ukrainian capacities.
Gazprom is currently pumping 124 mcm per day on average through Ukraine, fully using the volume booked.
If Gazprom had accepted the offer to use additional transit capacities, it would have meant a return to transportation volumes through Ukraine of 2019, before the new transit contract and payment of $3 billion to Naftogaz in line with a Stockholm arbitration ruling.
Europe is currently dramatically increasing gas consumption. Global supplies of liquefied natural gas and pipeline gas from Russia are at their highest levels, but this so far impedes the start of mass replenishment of gas in underground storage facilities to prepare for next winter.