Ukraine stops the flow of gas to Europe from a zone occupied by Russia | International
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Ukraine on Tuesday stopped the flow of gas through a station in the eastern Lugansk region of the Donbass area, now in the hands of Moscow forces. From the Sojranivka interconnection route and through the now compromised Novopskov compression point in Lugansk, about a third of Russian gas exports to Europe circulate through Ukraine. The Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine (GTSOU) has cited security reasons for the measure and says that Vladimir Putin’s army, which is fighting in the area on one of the hottest fronts in the second phase of the war against Ukraine, had begun to divert gas and was interfering with the technical processes of this key infrastructure, putting the stability of the system at risk.
Ukraine has alleged causes of “force majeure” to stop operating the gas compression station occupied by Russian forces and about 90 kilometers from Severodonetsk, the most important city in the province and now besieged by Kremlin troops. kyiv has called on Gazprom – controlled by Moscow, which has a monopoly on gas pipelines and Russian gas sent to Europe – to divert the flow to another transit point from the Sudzha interconnection route (north-east, near Sumi), to compensate for the drop in flows. The Russian gas company indicates that it fulfills all its obligations with European buyers. Gazprom, which rejects the Ukrainian proposal, assures that this diversion is “technically impossible”.
For the first time in 77 days of war in Ukraine, gas shipments to Europe through the Eastern country have been affected by the conflict and have fallen by a quarter this Wednesday. Gazprom confirmed that the transit of the fuel to Europe through Ukrainian territory will be located this Wednesday at 72 million cubic meters, compared to the 95.8 million supplied the day before. The committed border interconnection point feeds 3% of the total gas consumption of the European Union.
Hydrocarbon prices have been hit and soared before retreating, thanks to a partial increase in the flow of Russian gas through the Sudzha station, which limited the rally. For the time being, Germany, one of the European giants with the greatest dependence on gas of Russian origin, has stated that its supply is “secure”.
The situation has added tension to already excited markets since the end of April. Moscow, harassed by Western sanctions, stopped gas exports to Bulgaria and Poland on April 27 because they had not paid in rubles, as required by a new decree signed by President Vladimir Putin.
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Until now, Russian gas had flowed normally through the entry points, although in figures much lower than those marked by transit agreements. Energy is a great lever of pressure that has profound economic consequences throughout Europe.
A gas that finances the war
The EU has already banned the import of Russian coal. And while the option of a planned EU-wide embargo on Russian oil is resolved, the Twenty-seven have sought to shore up their energy supplies. However, natural gas has not been on the veto list for now, despite calls from the government of Volodímir Zelenski, who assures that Russian gas is fueling and financing the Kremlin’s war against Ukraine.
Since last year Russia began to claim that it has the gas key in its possession, some countries have sought alternative supplies. But with the war now over two months old, Europe continues to rely heavily on Russian supplies: About 40% of the gas it uses for heating, powering factories or electricity is Russian, according to 2021 data.
Ukraine remains a major transit route for Russian gas to Europe, even after Moscow launched what it calls a “special military operation” on February 24. The kyiv government says that while Russia has attacked the infrastructure and the Ukrainian national gas network, which has left millions of people without fuel and without heating in the dead of winter, it has avoided deliberate bombings against the channels that bring income to the economy. Russian.
From Sojranivka (Sojranovka, in Russian) circulate about a third of the Russian gas flows that enter Ukraine to be sent later to European countries, mainly Austria, Italy, Slovakia and Eastern European countries. The rest of the gas comes from the Sudzha interconnection point, further away from the territories now occupied by Russia in Donbas.
Although only a minority of Russian gas flows to Europe through Ukraine – which does not buy directly from Moscow – kyiv sees the fees it receives for transit rights as a major economic waste that the Kremlin has threatened to withdraw many times, putting in place other channels. Like the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, under the Baltic Sea, or the Yamal, which crosses Poland and Belarus. The first, which was to bring Russian gas directly to Germany bypassing Poland and the Ukraine, has been paralyzed by Putin’s war.
Meanwhile, German authorities are “very closely” monitoring the possible effects of the reduction in gas transit through Ukraine, reported the Federal Network Agency, the agency that monitors energy supply. The situation is “stable” and the security of supply is “guaranteed”, affirms the daily report on the state of the gas pipelines that this agency published in the early afternoon. At the moment, the quantities of gas that flow from Ukraine have decreased by 25% compared to those that arrived on Tuesday, but the authorities assure that they are being compensated with higher flows from other origins, especially Norway and the Netherlands, informs Elena G. Sevillano.
The agency notes that there has been no significant increase in wholesale prices. German gas tanks are fuller now than in the spring of past years, according to data from this body, so storage could be used if necessary.
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