Sergey Pravosudov: “ the Ukrainian problem “ it is solved, but transit risks remain
New Year`s holidays this year once again have passed under the badge of the gas conflict to Ukraine. Participation in its permission accepted not only our countries, but also the European states which have ceased to receive the Russian gas. The conflict has been settled on January, 20th, when “ blue fuel “ from Russia began to arrive in Ukrainian gazotransport - nuju system. It has occurred after heads “ Gazprom “ and “ Naftogaza Ukraine “ have signed the long-term contracts defining conditions of deliveries of gas to Ukraine and transit to Europe.
the New contract
the Contract on transit provides preservation in 2009 of the preferential transit rate 1,7 dollars for transportation of 1 thousand cubes of gas on 100 km. The volume of transit of gas through Ukraine in 2009 will make to 120 billion cubes. Since January, 1st, 2010 the transit rate becomes market and will pay off under the standard European formula.
According to the contract the price for gas for the Ukrainian consumers is calculated under the standard European formula of the price with the lowering factor 08 (08 means 80 percent of cost of gas, in other words, the discount will make 20 percent). As base determined price in 450 dollars for one thousand cubes. Thus, in the first quarter 2009 the price for gas for consumers of Ukraine will make 360 dollars for one thousand cubes. The price will change under the formula quarterly. As price indicators in the formula are adhered to oil quotations with a log in 6 - 9 months, the price of gas for Ukraine in the second quarter will decrease. The gas standard item to Ukraine in 2009 will make 40 billion cubes. Since January, 1st, 2010 “ Gazprom “ Begins to sell gas to Ukraine at the market European price without discounts.
Ukraine became last from the countries, before entering into the USSR which has agreed to pass to the European formula of the price for gas. Ten years` term of the contract allows to hope that New Year`s disputes on the price of gas for Ukraine will not repeat any more. Besides, the intermediary structure has been excluded from the scheme of deliveries “ RosUkrEnergo “ - the new contract is concluded between “ Gazprom “ and “ Naftogazom Ukraine “. According to arrangements “ Gazprom “ will continue to realise independently a gas part in home market of Ukraine.
That will be now?
Last gas crisis has shown that the system of transit of gas through territory of Ukraine needs radical reforming. After disorder of the USSR Ukraine repeatedly accumulated debts for gas, thus in case of reduction of volume of deliveries Ukrainians started to take away “ blue fuel “ from the transit volumes going to Europe. For the decision of this problem Russia has suggested to create several years ago a tripartite consortium on management Ukrainian gazotransport ache system (GTS). As participants of a consortium were assumed: “ Naftogaz Ukraine “ “ Gazprom “ and German E. ON Ruhrgas.
In 2003 the president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma has approved signing of the memorandum of creation of a tripartite consortium. It is obvious that on this step it was induced by coming nearer presidential election. Russia has supported Victor Yanukovych`s nominee which as the successor was advanced by Leonid Kuchma on these elections. However as a result of so-called “ orange revolution “ Victor Yushchenko became the president of Ukraine.
the New authorities of Ukraine have forgotten at once about agreements on creation of a tripartite consortium. On the contrary, Victor Yushchenko repeatedly declared that the gas-transport system is national property of Ukraine, therefore it will not be authorised to foreigners to take part in management of this strategic active. However, it has not prevented it to sign a charter about cooperation with the USA in which including it is told and about possibility of attraction of the American companies to modernisation Ukrainian GTS.
Thus for anybody was not a secret that Ukrainian GTS gradually falls into decay. It has been constructed at the time of the USSR, and the authorities of independent Ukraine did not give proper attention to its repair and modernisation. By the way, building of a new branch of Bogorodchany - Uzhgorod which would allow to increase gas transit to Europe through Ukraine (" was one of the purposes of a tripartite consortium; Naf togaz Ukraine “ Could not finance this project independently). It is obvious that for Ukraine favourably increase in volume of transit on its territory as it increases receipts in treasury. But whether the Ukrainian authorities are guided by this obvious motive? Last years Ukraine constantly demanded for itself concessionary terms of deliveries of gas, and frequently could not find money to pay “ blue fuel “ even at cut prices.
During December gas crisis to year Russia, having been tired of inconsistent statements of the Ukrainian partners, has put a question point-blank: to Europe it is necessary to transfer control over gas transit in hands of the international observers.
the Authorities of Ukraine long opposed to inclusion in structure of groups of observers of the Russian experts. In such position there is nothing surprising. After all as a matter of fact it means the international control over work Ukrainian GTS, that is the first step to consortium creation on management of gas-transport system. Not casually prime minister of Ukraine Yulia Timoshenko insisted on inclusion in the agreement on activity of the international observers of points on a recognition of Ukraine reliable tranziterom gas and restriction of work of observers for in one month. Presence of foreign experts on Ukrainian gazoperekachivajushchih stations already says that the international community does not consider the power of Ukraine capable to provide reliable transit of gas.
After signing of agreements on deliveries and transit Russia has removed the requirement about participation I wait, national observers in control over work Ukrainian GTS. However there is no confidence that Ukraine will not start to break again the obligations and to accumulate debts for the put gas. Not a secret that “ Naftogaz Ukraine “ Is in very heavy financial position. The probability of is very great that this company will have again problems with payment of the Russian gas. In this case inevitably it is necessary either to reduce deliveries, or to address in the international arbitration.
In the end of this year Ukraine presidential election again expects. A number of observers believe that, most likely, the USA will continue to support those Ukrainian politicians who will occupy nekonstruktivnuju concerning Russia. It is natural to the USA. They do not depend on gas transit on territory of Ukraine, but at a political deal favorable for them they have an opportunity to dictate the conditions of Russia and to the European union. It will be much more interesting to observe how leaders of the European countries will lead. It would be desirable to hope that they will support those Ukrainian politicians who will support creation of the international consortium on management of gas-transport system. And its participants can become not only “ Naftogaz Ukraine “ “ prom Gas “ and E. ON Ruhrgas, but also other European gas giants.