New gas war

New gas warIs it easy to be a neighbor of Russia? Just ask Ukraine about this. Since the collapse of the USSR in 1991, Ukraine’s relations with Russia have been developing in the range from cold formal to frankly hostile, and the main irritant is, of course, the gas issue.

The period of rapprochement and constancy in relations between Ukraine and Russia, which began with the coming to power of Viktor Yanukovych, is over. This was clearly shown by Dmitry Medvedev’s meeting with the Ukrainian president in Sochi. The leader of Ukraine began negotiations with a transparent hint of the possibility of filing a lawsuit against neighboring Russia, and the Russian president began recognizing that there are many issues in the relations between the two countries. According to reliable information, none of them was fully resolved: Moscow and Kiev continue to argue about the price of gas and the future entry of Ukraine into the current Customs Union. Media sources indicate that the governments of the two states are preparing for a long-term confrontation until the next gas war on the eve of the pre-election winter 2012 of the year.


Even before the meeting in Sochi, Yanukovych expressed the view that Ukraine and Russia are obliged to find a compromise and mutually beneficial solution and reconsider the current gas prices, without resorting to a possible judicial procedure, since Kiev considers the current prices to be bonded. Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine Sergei Tigipko said that you need to reach the price level that is in effect in most European countries. In Kiev, consider the fair value of gas at the level of 200 dollars per thousand cubic meters.

According to the agreements, the price of gas depends on the price of oil on world markets. In the third quarter, gas went up by 20% compared to the second quarter - to 354 dollars per thousand cubic meters. The gas price in the first quarter was 264,3 dollars per thousand cubic meters, in the second - 295,6 dollars.

At a meeting with media representatives, President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych said the following: “I think it is in our common interests — Ukraine and the Russian Federation — to take a compromise solution, of course, we will strive for this.” In other words, a court decision on the gas issue is also not excluded.

For the first time, Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov spoke about the possibility of resolving the issue of prices for gas supplied by Gazprom to Ukraine. Last week, during a press conference, he said that Kiev was exploring the issue of terminating the existing gas contract, which was concluded by its predecessor in 2009 year.

Independent experts, in turn, argue that the new conflict with Ukraine is very beneficial to the Russian gas monopoly. It provides an opportunity to justify large investments in the South Stream and Nord Stream projects.

Alexey Miller, head of Gazprom, another 30 of June, said that the gas holding admits the possibility of reducing the price of natural gas for Ukraine, but only if it is merged with the state-owned company Naftogaz of Ukraine.

This option is not fully acceptable in Ukraine. The government is well aware that this merger will be used in the future by Russia as a lever of pressure. The Ukrainian authorities also declare that the then Prime Minister of Ukraine Yulia Tymoshenko signed the 2009 gas agreements of the year with Russia, having no government directives, and, consequently, the agreements are invalid. Now comes the trial of Tymoshenko in a high-profile "gas case."

In response to Moscow’s refusal to lower natural gas prices, Kiev is diligently looking for methods to break its enslaving dependence on energy imports from Russia, and now the situation looks as if this desire may well become a reality. The head of the Ukrainian Gosgeonedr Edward Stavitsky said in an interview: “Today, the state fund of free underground resources is approximately 1,1 trillion. cubic meters of gas and in the area 130-150 million tons of oil with associated gas condensate. For ten years, Ukraine is fully capable of fully supplying itself with oil and gas, which will make it possible to exclude purchases of imported important energy resources. ”

TNK-BP is ready to invest (2 billion dollars) in the development of shale gas deposits in the territory of Ukraine before the 2020 year. Shell has already provided a natural gas production project at the Yuzovskoye field and is ready within the next three years to invest a certain amount of billions of dollars in its technological development, hoping to reach the maximum extraction level of 8-10 billion cubic meters of gas per year over the past ten years.

In Western Ukraine, investors, such as Chevron, show interest in the richest Oleskoe field, which extends across the Ternopil, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk regions, the area of ​​which, according to preliminary estimates, is on the order of 5,4 thousand square kilometers.

According to reliable information provided by the Deputy Minister of Fuel and Energy of the Government of Ukraine Sergey Chek, the state energy company Naftogaz Ukraine is developing an agreement with the global oil and gas group Shell, the subject of which will be the development of the Black Sea shelf. Czech said Ukraine could significantly increase oil and gas production in the Black and Azov Seas, but this would require huge investments, but Ukraine plans to increase natural gas production on the Black Sea shelf to 2,9 mln. Tons per year by 2015 year. covering gas condensate.

If Ukraine can really achieve energy independence, it will ultimately deprive Moscow of one of its main levers for political pressure on Kiev. Very apart from the unnerving issues related to the transit of natural gas supplies by Gazprom through Ukraine, another issue that has been a factor in tensions in modern Russian-Ukrainian relations over the past 2's decades also remains unresolved. This is a controversial question about the continuation of the timing of Russia's use of the port of Sevastopol in the Crimea as a base for its own Black Sea fleet. In past years, Moscow took an extremely tough stance on all issues related to the use of the port, mainly due to its “gas arms».
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