Ukraine will sign an agreement on reverse gas supplies from Europe through Slovakia by the end of the year, Ukrinform reported on December 12, citing Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavytsky.
"I hope that an agreement on gas supplies in the reverse mode from Europe through Slovakia will be signed by the end of the year," the minister said.
According to the press service, the minister's confidence is based on a statement made by Marlene Holzner, spokesperson for EU Energy Commissioner Gunther Oettinger, that Ukraine and Slovakia have partly signed an agreement on reverse gas supplies to Ukraine and that the documents are to be signed in full by the end of the year.
An agreement on the reverse supply of over ten billion cubic meters of natural gas per year was signed by Ukrainian and Slovak gas pipeline operators Ukrtransgaz and Eustream.
Energy experts say that a delay in the final signing of all documents is related to Ukraine's reluctance to assume guarantees regarding the mandatory pumping of at least ten billion cubic meters of gas. It is expected that the document will not include a mandatory amount of ten billion cubic meters of gas. This position by the Ukrainian side, according to gas market experts, seems justified.
Experts recall that Naftogaz of Ukraine is also facing problems in relations with Russia due to its commitment to purchase 52 billion cubic meters of gas, but not less than 33 billion cubic meters. The Ukrainian side, given extremely high prices, does not need such an amount of gas. This commitment was envisaged in gas contracts signed in January 2009.
In the case of gas transit through Slovakia the Ukrainian side may also face the problem of commitments on the pumping of gas, whose price on the European market will be disadvantageous.
Copyright: Ukrinform, 2013