months of successful operation of the Vojany-Uzhhorod
pipeline, Naftogaz of Ukraine has proposed to Eustream, Slovakia’s transmission system operator (TSO), a technical solution for a considerable capacity
increase of this gas transmission route. The pipeline, with current capacity of
27mcm/day (nearly 10bcm/year), was officially launched in early September 2014
to supply natural gas to Ukraine from the EU via Slovakia. Naftogaz
hopes that the Slovakian operator will support prompt implementation of the
TSO proved its ability to directly cooperate with EU
of the Vojany-Uzhhorod pipeline clearly demonstrates
that Ukrainian and Slovakian TSOs can provide fully
reliable cross-border gas flows via technically robust direct interconnection.
European energy companies have been able to use this new interconnector to
transport significant volumes of gas, reflecting the system’s technical
capabilities and the fact that Ukraine can operate to the highest standards of
the EU gas market.
That is why
Naftogaz is now confident that there are no remaining
legitimate barriers to signing a direct interconnection agreement for all
pipelines that connect the neighbouring gas
transmission systems of Ukraine and Slovakia.
Intermediary blocking the additional two-way
flow capacity should be removed
the newly-launched Vojany-Uzhhorod pipeline, the
old-grid interconnection between Slovakia and Ukraine has capacity of nearly
100 bcm per year. The ‘big reverse flow’ solution
allows for reverse flows of the same volume in the West-to-East direction. A
technical term for this solution is “backhaul”, which is a standard practice in
Europe fostered by implementation of the Third Energy Package.
solution is currently being blocked by Gazprom on the
grounds of a legacy contract with Eustream, despite
the fact that nearly half of the old-grid interconnector capacity is idle. The
grandfathering rule is not applicable to the Third Energy Package unless an
exemption is justified and explicitly granted by the European Commission.
Therefore, this contract should be amended to enable two-way gas flows.
Unlocking additional unutilised
capacity will strengthen energy security in vulnerable CEE
one of the few CEE countries that have an excellent
physical connection to the liquid and developed Western European gas market.
Expanding West-to-East flows between Slovakia and Ukraine is not only critical
for the energy security of Ukraine but also provides for diversification of
supply routes for CEE countries such as Poland,
Romania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Serbia.
As the stress
tests recently conducted by the European Commission show, these countries are
particularly vulnerable in case of disruption of gas supplies from Russia.
Using interconnectors between these countries and Ukraine would significantly
improve their choice of supply sources.
Direct interconnection agreement between
Ukrainian and Slovakian TSOs is legal, justified and
will help to reduce gas prices across Europe
has proposed to Eustream to sign a direct
interconnection agreement for the full capacity between the two operators.
Opening this capacity does not require any investment or legislative change,
only implementation of existing EU law on EU territory. Naftogaz
hopes that the importance for the entire CEE region
of opening up two-way flows on this route will merit decisive action from the
recent statement, the Energy Community confirmed that fostering two-way
cross-border flows is a priority task that equally relates to Ukraine and neighbouring EU member states.
implementation of European energy legislation and integration of the Ukrainian
gas transmission system into the European gas market will considerably improve
the European market’s liquidity and potentially lead to a reduction of gas
prices for final consumers across the continent.