MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Gazprom has reaffirmed plans to cut off gas transiting Ukraine to western Europe in 2019 and urged the European Union to speed up a decision on Russian gas delivery routes to ensure it receives supplies after that time.
Moscow wants to bypass Ukraine in its shipments of gas to Europe due to a succession of pricing rows. Tensions between Moscow and Kiev are also high due to fighting in east Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting Kiev forces.
Gazprom plans switching flows to Turkey by laying pipes beneath the Black Sea, a project known as Turk Stream in Europe and Turkish Stream in Russia.
“We will not export gas via Ukraine after 2019. The customers will get gas at (newly) agreed delivery points, ”Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev told reporters on Tuesday. He said Gazprom guarantees gas volumes to be delivered to a new hub it hopes to create on the Turkey-Greece border, but said it was for the EU to decide how to take the fuel from there.
He said the matter needed to be discussed soon in order to give time to build the necessary infrastructure on the EU side. The European Commission said it had not received any specific plans from Russia over Turk Stream.
In December, Russia scrapped its South Stream pipeline project which would have supplied gas to southern Europe without crossing Ukraine, because of objections from the EU on competition grounds.
Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz told Reuters on Monday Gazprom was likely to start the construction of Turk Stream by the end of June.
Medvedev added that all commercial conditions for a contract with Turkey’s state-owned Botas had been agreed, while the price might be agreed by the end of this month. He also said Gazprom plans to export between 153 billion and 155 billion cubic metres to the European Union and Turkey this year.
The company sees an average price for gas supplies to the EU and Turkey at between $240 and $245 per 1,000 cubic metres, Medvedev said at a conference. Separately Gazprom was given a two-month extended deadline of mid-September to respond to European Union antitrust charges of over-charging in eastern and central Europe and blocking competitors from entering the market.