Ukraine prepares gas facilities for possible cut in Russian transit

Ukrtransgaz, the gas storage and transport arm of Ukrainian state gas company Naftogaz, has upgraded its gas pumping stations to be able to provide the country’s southern and eastern regions with gas if Russia decides to halt transit, Reuters has reported.

“(…) Ukrtransgaz has implemented all the necessary technical and regulatory solutions to create a reliable reverse scheme and it is ready for regular operation and can be activated immediately if necessary,” the company said in a statement on August 14, adding that they had already reversed gas flows in 2009 when Russia decided to halt the transit due to price disputes.

Bilateral talks between Ukraine’s Naftogaz and Russian gas giant Gazprom have failed to get off the ground, due to possible US sanctions against Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline, legal disputes between the two energy companies and Russia insisting that it would start negotiations only if Ukraine has a new government.

A new round of trilateral negotiations between the two sides and the EU are scheduled for September. The European Commission has proposed a plan that would ensure the transit of 60 billion cubic metres of gas annually for 10 years, with Ukraine also hoping for a long-term agreement.

On July 26, Russian energy minister Aleksander Novak said that Russia had offered Ukraine with the possibility of extending their current agreement by one year.

Earlier this week, Naftogaz announced that it accumulated 16.6 billion cubic metres in Ukraine’s underground storage facilities to ensure supplies if there is no agreement with Russia.