Reality looks a little different. History Russian-Ukrainian gas relations - this is the story that the Ukrainian side always gets what it wants, but for some reason, it does not like the final result. So, in 2005, Ukraine was bathed in cheap gas. The then contract, which was supposed to be valid before 2013, provided for a fixed price of $ 50 per thousand cubic meters, plus payment in kind for transit, which gave Ukraine 19,7 billion cubic meters at virtually lower prices.
The second supplier who successfully used the Russian gas transportation system was Turkmenistan, for lack of other buyers, except for Russia and Ukraine, selling gas for $ 40- $ 42. In other words, the statement that Ukraine received gas at $ 50, in fact, suffers a stretch - on average, it was significantly cheaper. At the same time, Gazprom turned a blind eye to re-export. In fact, these were subsidies that provided the Ukrainian economy with very fast growth, a positive trade balance and other positive trends in the late Kuchma era. In general, it was more than generous payment for the non-aligned status of Ukraine and relative loyalty - nothing else was required of Ukraine.
However, the first Maidan happened in 2005. The Yushchenko administration made an unequivocally pro-Western choice, which should have been paid from the pocket of the Muscovites robbing Ukraine. The winning tandem requested the average European price for transit and terminated the contract with Gazprom. In response, the monopoly offered the average European price for gas, which at that time was $ 160- $ 170 per thousand cubic meters. The Ukrainian side tried to return to the previous agreements - but it was already too late. Negotiations dragged on - and meanwhile, the average European price rose to $ 220- $ 230. Nobody was going to subsidize pro-Western Kiev to the utmost degree and endlessly, and in January 2006 of the Russian Federation turned off the gas in the simplest way.
The result was $ 98 - still more than a preferential price (for the Baltic countries it was $ 126), 9 billion cubic meters, which could be bought for transit payment in cash equivalent at about 1,5 times the reduced price for it, and debt in $ 1,2 billion. This is a turning point in the development of the rather rapidly growing Ukrainian economy - from this point on, the trade balance becomes negative. However, these are still subsidies. The problem is that under the terms of the agreement, the Ukrainian side imposed on Gazprom and an intermediary in the office called RosUkrEnergo (RUE), where the Russian gas monopoly indirectly (through Gazprombank) owned only 50%. The rest went to Dmitry Firtash and Ivan Fursin. At the same time, behind Firtash stood none other than Semyon Mogilevich (one of the leaders of the Solntsevo organized criminal group, arrested by the FSB in 2008, but failed to prove anything; the US FBI offers information that will lead to his arrest, $ 100 thousand) . As a result, instead of $ 98, Ukraine received gas at the same average European price of $ 230.
Next, we invade the abysses of WikiLeaks., Or rather, the report of William Taylor, then US Ambassador to Ukraine, about a meeting with Firtash in 2008. “During the meeting, which lasted two and a half hours, Firtash told the ambassador that he was a non-public person who, more recently, had begun to plunge into Ukrainian politics more and more. He admitted that he“ faithfully served ”President Yushchenko as an unofficial adviser during tense gas negotiations with Russia and the political crisis during the 2004 Orange Revolution. He said that at the request of the President he had met three times with Yushchenko at his dacha last week. " The same is confirmed by the ex-head of the secretariat of Yushchenko, Oleg Rybachuk. “I don’t know how often they met in the private residence of the president, but, as colleagues told me, he took a very active part in the negotiations.”
“I have repeatedly started a conversation with the president about the fact that the gas scheme with the participation of RosUkrEnergo is unacceptable. Each time, in response, Viktor Andreyevich simply remained silent and averted his eyes. From many years of experience in communicating with him, I know this reaction very well: Yushchenko is silent if he I do not agree with your arguments, but I cannot argue with arguments. " Around this place, Moscow apparently had a strong idiosyncrasy on Maidan, because stealing in the way that team stole would have seemed impossible.
Yulia Tymoshenko, who returned to power in 2007, looked equally skeptical at the business of her competitors, and in 2008 RUE was equally removed from the trade in Russian gas. Nevertheless, the intermediary managed to accumulate a debt of $ 2,4 billion - and the Kremlin demanded payment, simultaneously announcing Firtash and Fursin on the federal wanted list. Here, the touching agreement between Miller and the Ukrainian "gas goddess" ended - despite the fact that Yushchenko acknowledged the debt (of course, blaming the blame for his appearance on the prime minister), Tymoshenko refused to pay, saying that it was not the state’s debt, but the RUE.
At the same time, at the end of the year, Yushchenko tried to return the structure to the game. RosUkrEnergo was bidding $ 285 against $ 235 from Naftogaz (Gazprom wanted $ 250), but Moscow looked at Firtash obliquely, preferring the scheme - less money, but transparent schemes. President Yushchenko’s response to the billionaire’s losses and cruel mockery of a crystal-honest Ukrainian business was tough and unequivocal - the delegation was recalled from the talks ... Naftogaz; however, the latter refused to guarantee transit. Yushchenko and Firtash wanted money at any price — and the Kremlin’s lack of flexibility caused them genuine confusion.
As a result, on January 1, 2009 of the Russian Federation again stopped gas supplies to Ukraine. The “war”, accompanied by shameless gas extraction by “Ukrainian partners,” continued until January 19. In general, in the course of this remarkable epic, one can observe the entire Ukrainian classics - transit blackmail, howling European officials, statements by Kiev politicians that Russia is robbing Ukraine, setting non-market prices (actually making $ 320 then) free (that is, in vain) with full gas storages and ultrapatriotic propaganda (Yushchenko: "this is" blackmail each of you "," one of the forms of increasing the risks of your existence, stability "). The final result was an agreement, according to Second, gas prices were tied to oil prices (more precisely, oil products — gasoil and fuel oil) with a quarterly revision — that is, according to the generally accepted European formula adopted as early as 1960-s at the suggestion of the Netherlands government. - At the beginning of 2009, the price of a barrel fell to $ 33,67, and in Kiev they thought it would be for a long time.The 20% discount for a year was an additional “carrot” - the southwestern neighbor was given time to improve the energy efficiency of production. Anyway, in the 2009-m scheme worked - the gas cost Ukraine $ 228 per thousand cubic meters, almost half the price than less "advanced" users; de facto, this meant a subsidy worth about $ 5 billion. Nevertheless, Firtash-Yushchenko’s tandem did not return RosUkrEnergo to the game. Firtash was left to earn money from Naftogaz, the latter, hard-won courts, gave it to 2010- 2012 gas worth about $ 5 billion
Further it is not difficult to imagine. Already at the beginning of 2010 it became clear that Kiev had traditionally outwitted itself - the oil price exceeded $ 80, and gas prices followed next; at the same time, the discount has expired, and yet in 2009 in Ukraine, they were by no means engaged in improving energy efficiency. As a result, in the first quarter of 2010, the price of gas for Ukraine amounted to $ 300- $ 310 (on average in Europe - $ 308). The Yanukovych’s administration, which came to power, suddenly realized that the Putin-Tymoshenko agreement was “criminal,” and the price was, of course, “non-market.” The result was the Kharkov agreements - in exchange for a prolongation of the Black Sea stay fleet in Sevastopol until 2042, Kiev received a 30% discount, which, however, could not exceed $ 100. In other words, prices were returned in 2009, continuing to subsidize the Ukrainian economy - which did not stop Ukrainian politicians from singing the traditional song about robbery, which is independent (for example, Arseniy Yatsenyuk claimed that European countries pay $ 170- $ 220; a typical case of shameless lies).
By the end of the year, the authorities joined the opposition chorus — prices rose to $ 256,7 per thousand cubic meters, and the Yanukovych administration again suddenly realized that the contract it had signed was “non-market”. Kiev began to seek additional discounts - but Moscow has already managed to figure out what constitutes a Donetsk protégé. The Kremlin did not intend to reduce the price by several times in relation to the average European one for the further success of the movement on the euromount against the background of the non-fulfillment of the “pro-Russian” election promises, and the contract was not revised.
Since then, the Kiev authorities have had three main activities: a) expensive and meaningless projects to reduce gas dependence on Russia
b) attempts to finally get discounts
c) agitation and propaganda - the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians firmly believe that they receive "the most expensive gas in Europe".
We will analyze the last point in more detail. The beginning of the saga of “the most expensive gas” was put by ex-premier Mykola Azarov, who regularly reproduced this thesis for several years from the end of 2010. As an example, quote 2011-th: "Ukraine receives gas according to the formula of Tymoshenko is much more expensive than Germany receives gas, much more expensive than Poland receives. Is that normal? Does it fit into the strategic partnership? And by and large Russia will be forced agree with us. " In reality, when this outraged tirade was pronounced, Germany received gas at $ 355, Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia - at $ 340- $ 360, Ukraine - at $ 295. Azarov, to put it mildly, was engaged in manipulations - “forgetting” about the discount and the transport component and indicating the basic price of gas, which existed only on paper. Over time, this has become the rule of good tone in the Ukrainian establishment - thus, speaking at the beginning of 2013, the Deputy Minister of Coal Industry and Energy, Vladimir Makukha, on duty, informed the world that in 2012 Ukraine bought gas at $ 416- $ 426, but in the first quarter of the next - by $ 432. It is hardly necessary to clarify that such prices for Ukraine did not exist EVER. Such was the general style of the negotiations and propaganda attacks, which were not expected to lead to any results within three years.
Anyway, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev is absolutely right: the history of gas relations between Russia and Ukraine is the history of endless subsidies to the Ukrainian economy, which was gradually shrinking over the Ukrainian initiative, the parasitism of local “elites”, which actually imposed the Russian Federation on tribute, and Kiev’s deadly offenses that subsidies are insufficient, and parasitism is not enough with impunity. Of course, this was happening to the cries of the patriotic Ukrainian public, strongly offended by the Muscovites for not allowing Firtash, Mogilevich, Tymoshenko and others to earn money on the very same public.
The rest is well known - the collapsing Ukrainian economy still received gas at $ 268 per thousand cubic meters (the maximum price in 2013 was $ 398) and a loan to pay for the accumulated gas debt. For comparison, the average price for Italy in 2013 was $ 418, Germany - $ 479, France - $ 555. Relatively cheap gas was supplied to Turkey, with which Gazprom was linked to the long-concluded 25-year contract ($ 388) and Britain ($ 330), where the gas monopoly obviously made a bet on actively expanding its market share.
In other words, Ukraine received an ultra-attractive price by any standards - however, naturally, Moscow did not wait for a shadow of gratitude (conscious patriots of Ukraine immediately concluded that $ 268 is market-based, and earlier the price was overvalued). The same rates remained the same after the February coup - the Russian Federation faithfully supplied gas throughout the entire first quarter, and continues to supply it now. Meanwhile, the Kiev regime has completely ceased to pay it since the second half of February, despite the fact that only half of the allocated credit went to pay. As a result, in March alone, Ukraine’s debt grew by $ 550 million, reaching $ 2,2 billion. In practice, we sponsored and are sponsoring a regime hostile to Russia.
1 April, Gazprom announced the cancellation of the “Yanukovich discount” and the increase in prices to $ 385,5 - officially due to the failure to fulfill obligations to pay off the debt and the lack of payment for current supplies. On April 3, the Kharkiv agreements were denounced and the price rose to $ 485. However, as sources in Moscow explained, it was a question of a preventive measure - in fact, the price should have come closer to $ 500 in the event of possible excesses from the Ukrainian side. April 7 is the deadline for March calculations. In other words, the “cold” phase of the gas war began two weeks ago.
Meanwhile, the reaction of Kiev became less and less adequate. On April 4, the Ukrainian profile minister Yuriy Prodan declared that it was to blame for the non-payment for gas ... Russia. "There were commitments, arrangements. Among these arrangements of 2013, there were also obligations of the Russian side to provide Ukraine with a loan of $ 15 billion. You know, the first part of the loan in December 2013 of $ 3 billion was paid and received by Ukraine. The second Part of the obligations came in February 2014 of the year, while the Russian side also pledged to provide Ukraine with a loan in the amount of $ 2 billion. Moreover, there were agreements, obligations from Ukraine - that Ukraine would pay the money as favoring gas payments. Such arrangements were. Now we are looking to confirm these agreements formally, in writing. " At the same time, Ukraine insisted on keeping the same gas price ($ 268). In other words, Moscow was asked to maintain massive subsidies and loans for the new Ukrainian regime. The problem is that there are no lending obligations associated with the gas contract in the Russian Federation, and there wasn’t.
5 April Prodan also continued to assert that it would ensure gas transit to Europe regardless of the development of a “dialogue” with Russia, but then the position of Ukraine began to evolve rapidly. Already on April 8, the minister announced that at the price of $ 500, transit would be threatened, and he directly called the actions of the Russian Federation an economic war. The next day, the head of the National Bank of Ukraine, Stepan Kubiv, struck the financiers with a fresh discovery in the field of monetary policy, saying that Ukraine had already “returned” the Russian $ 3 billion loan by paying them gas. Here it is remarkable, firstly, as an alternative logic, by virtue of which the spent credit is considered to be returned. Secondly, a direct lie - only $ 1,6 billion went to pay for gas, while $ 1,4 billion disappeared in an unknown direction (obviously, this explains the sharp decrease in the rate of compression of gold and currency reserves of the NBU). 9 of the Ministry of Energy realized its threats by stopping the injection of gas into underground storage facilities (PGH) - which practically guaranteed interruptions in transit. The Kiev regime actually offered Moscow to support itself by resorting to traditional transit blackmail. At the same time, at a meeting in the Kremlin, it was decided that Ukraine should be transferred to prepay - which was officially possible to do on April 17; the reason for the shutdown of gas appeared with the 1 th May. At the same time, the EU and the United States offered to contain "their bitch children". Putin: "As you know, our partners in Europe recognize the legitimacy of today's Kiev authorities, but they do nothing to support Ukraine. Not a single dollar, not a single euro."
Next came the following. Almost simultaneously, the head of "Naftogaz" Andrei Kobolev directly linked the possibility of "retribution" with the preservation of the old price. Later, deadlines were set during which a new agreement should be concluded - according to the local Ministry of Energy, in the event of a gas shutdown, Ukraine will be able to provide transit for three months at the expense of existing reserves.
The position of the EU and the IMF has been more constructive. European Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger: "There is no reason to panic. I am preparing a decision for Ukraine to pay Gazprom from the loan package allocated by the IMF, the ECB and the World Bank." Later, the European Union issued two more contradictory signals. On the one hand, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso opposed the introduction of prepayments and, in effect, placed responsibility for transit on Gazprom. On the other hand, Ettinger confirmed his statement about the need to help Ukraine pay $ 2,2 billion in gas debts. A similar statement was made by the head of the IMF's external relations department, Jerry Rice.
At the same time, the Russian Federation formulated the final conditions for the provision of financial assistance to Ukraine, which included constitutional reform, legitimate elections, a settlement in the East and the "legitimization of the situation around Crimea."
In other words, by the middle of last week, the situation looked like this. Kiev will not pay - even the Turkish minimum (about $ 400 per thousand cubic meters) will result in $ 12 billion. Along with the payment of debts ($ 10 billion), this will eat almost all of the PROMOTE Western aid. The problem of the western adventure in Kiev is that, by default, it assumed that the Russian Federation would pay for everything — which they had previously been appointed guilty of the Ukrainian crisis. At the same time, the EU and Ukraine do not actually have three months to negotiate - only 8 billion cubic meters of gas is in storage and it is extremely technologically difficult to extract it from there. Ukraine actually has no alternative sources of gas. With gas imports of the order of 30 billion cubic meters per year, the maximum possible volume of deliveries from Europe is 12 billion cubic meters, while 10 of them falls on Slovakia, which is related to the prospects for reverse, is ambiguous. The problem is that the new Ukrainian authorities are not ready either to invest in the construction of the relevant infrastructure or to guarantee its loading. As a result, Slovakia is ready to supply only 3,2 billion cubic meters without agreement with Gazprom. At the same time, supplies of the order of 1 billion cubic meters in the reverse mode last year allowed Ukraine to save only $ 34 million. If the situation reproduces, the savings will remain "penny" this year.
The idea of importing liquefied natural gas is even more absurd - Turkey has quite clearly stated that it will not let gas carriers pass through the Bosphorus. At the same time, LNG is extremely expensive - for example, gas from Qatar is 40-50% more expensive than Russian gas. In other words, Ukraine has no chance to escape from gas dependence.
Equally absurd is the rhetoric of the West and the Ukrainian establishment, which threatens the Russian Federation with isolation from the European gas market in the event of Moscow’s "wrong" behavior. Consider the situation in more detail. Gazprom’s exports to Europe in 2013 are 139,92 billion cubic meters per year. It is this volume that must be replaced. There are several possible sources of supply in the case of Europe. The most publicized are the United States, which are preparing to start exporting LNG (their production is growing quite fast due to shale technology), followed by Iran, Azerbaijan, Algeria and Qatar. Norway and the Netherlands are hopeless by default - the Dutch reduce production, aggravating the deficit of their own gas in Europe, the Norwegians simply are not able to drastically increase it, and after 2020, it will quickly decline. At the same time, gas production in importing countries is steadily falling (as in Germany it decreased from 16,9 billion cubic meters in 2000 to 10,6 in 2011), and consumption is growing, in particular because of the collapse of nuclear energy.
So, consider the possible alternatives. Let's start with Iran - the situation with it is extremely simple. Iran imposed an embargo on the sale of gas and oil to the EU countries at the beginning of 2013 in response to the "hostile policy towards Iran" (in other words, sanctions). The gesture was largely symbolic, but the same thesis was repeated at the beginning of this year, when the sanctions were decided to lift - but in a modified version. Now the reason for the embargo has become a hostile policy towards Iran and ... Russia. At the same time, an unprecedented barter transaction for the supply of oil to Russia was concluded between the Russian Federation and the IRI, bypassing calculations in dollars. In other words, firstly, potential competitors get along well with each other. Secondly, the main volumes of Iranian gas will be produced by Chinese companies and will go to China. Facing Tehran and Moscow with the foreheads will not succeed in the West - rather, the European market will be divided peacefully. Further, Qatar currently simply does not have gas surpluses (the entire world supply of LNG is 120 billion cubic meters), and exports it mainly to East Asia - at very impressive prices. As for Azerbaijan, its limit is around 4% of the European market. Algeria has only 4 trillion cubic meters of gas reserves (this is approximately seven-year consumption of Ukraine or less than five years - Germany), and the existing pipeline network is able to provide only 47% of gas consumption in Spain.
In other words, the only chance for Europe is the United States, whose export potential was estimated at 200 billion cubic meters, while prices in the US domestic market are $ 135 per thousand cubic meters. However, in this blissful picture there is a series of strokes that frankly spoil it. In the short term, massive gas exports from the US is impossible - as long as they are a net importer (60 billion cubic meters from Canada), and self-sufficiency is expected no earlier than 2017. The start of export supplies also does not promise Europeans a sea of cheap gas. US Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in an interview with Czech television: "If we take the current cost of gas on the American market and add to this the cost of liquefying gas, transporting, liquefying, and perhaps even building some kind of gas pipeline, then the price is if this gas will be delivered to the Czech Republic - it will be about the same as you pay now. " At the same time, the operations of the minister with the internal prices of the USA are sinful with strong slyness - they are radically underestimated. Shale gas production is now unprofitable. So, Royal Dutch Shell wrote off $ 2,2 billion due to losses associated with the development of shale gas deposits. A year earlier, the shale project turned into a $ 5 billion loss for BHP Billiton.
Increasing domestic gas prices in the United States is a matter of time, and it will be significant. States in a very near future will face a decline in oil production and the closure of a long series of power units at nuclear power plants - and the "falling out" energy will have to be compensated for. It should also take into account the fact that gas reserves, as shown by recent studies, turned out to be overestimated (by 7,5%). Total: The USA, obviously, will never be able to compete with the Russian Federation on the European gas market.
In other words, choosing between the gas war and the subsidization of the anti-Russian regime in Kiev in general, and the headhunter of Russian citizens, Mr. Kolomoisky in particular, the Russian Federation should choose a gas war. At the same time, the whole history of Russian-Ukrainian relations shows that subsidizing Kiev practically brings no political dividends - good intentions are nothing against a well-functioning propaganda machine. The EU and the US must pay for their "success" - so dear that they are not tempted to repeat them.