Matiyeshyn on Europe, through a Ukrainian eye

Gas became the main topic of the recent session of heads of the governments of the CIS countries. Turkmenistan, as the country presiding in the Commonwealth, paid special attention to gas transportation. Today Turkmenistan, occupying the 4-th place in the world according to the discovered gas reserves, tries to diversify routes of export of its own gas and increase the quantity of its consumers. Now, the basic buyers of Turkmen gas are Russia, Iran and China. Recently, an agreement on gas supply to India and Pakistan was signed. The project of TAP pipeline with projected volumes of 30 billion cubic meters (Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India) is actively supported by the US. However, sanctions against Iran make gas pipeline construction between this country and Pakistan impossible. Discussion of construction of the pipeline in direction of Europe has recently become more active. Ukraine is trying to join this process.

Prime-minister of Ukraine M.Azarov has declared interest in renewal of supply of the Turkmen gas. However, Russia again is the basic barrier here – we need the consent of its leadership. Hopes are put upon the meeting of Presidents of Ukraine and Russia in the framework of July session of the Interstate Ukrainian-Russian commission. However, there is no visit to Ukraine in the nearest plans of the President of Russia.

The question of what Ukraine can suggest in exchange for revision of gas contracts of 2009 is losing its topicality every year. According to M.Azarov, Ukraine pays the highest price for Russian gas in Europe. Now, it makes up 450 dollars per thousand cubic meters on the border with Russia. And the Ukrainian gas-transport system will be necessary for both Russia and Europe still for a long time.

However, what’s most important is that its cost decreases every year. The same way as diminish transit volumes of gas which are pumped through it to Europe. After several European countries received a 10% discount from the RF, the interest of the EU to participation in gas-transport consortium creation has fallen. It would be nice to believe that this is a coincidence, and not the position in exchange for Gazprom’s discounts. Unfortunately, the public initiative of Europe concerning the change of price for Ukraine has taken backseat.

The energy policy of Russia concerning Ukraine can be assessed in different ways. Yes, from the position of Kremlin it is rigid; whereas, Ukraine constantly waits and hopes. Gas in Russia won’t end up soon, and Ukraine will need it for a long time. The only thing which is possible to ascertain is that analysts and economists of “Gazprom” show their foresight and professionalism; whereas in Ukraine, all forecasting assessments come down to the statement of facts – growth of energy dependence upon the Russian monopoly.

Reduction of gas dependence upon Russia, as the Ukrainian authorities understand it, is only a declaration of intentions. Another leadership of Ukraine once again shows absence of ability and desire to take the responsibility.


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