Situation in gas shipments to Ukraine stabilizes

The situation in natural gas shipments to Ukraine has stabilized thanks to the increasing quantities of gas delivered from the countries of the European Union, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said on Sunday.

"Today we have a stable situation in gas supplies: we have enough gas in storage facilities, domestically-produced gas and imports. The shipments from the EU, [namely] from Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary have increased. As of now, the shortfall is covered in full," Poroshenko wrote in his Twitter blog.

"The times of Russia's gas blackmailing are already past," he said.

After the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce ruled against it earlier this week Gazprom announced that it was launching a process to terminate its contracts with Naftogaz on the supply and transit of natural gas to and via Ukraine to Europe.

"Stockholm Arbitration, guided by double standards, reached an asymmetric ruling on contracts for the supply and transit of gas with Naftogaz Ukrainy. The arbitration ruling has considerably upset the balance of interests between the parties under these contracts. The arbitrators gave the sharp deterioration of the state of the Ukrainian economy as the argument for their ruling. We are categorically against the economic problems of Ukraine being resolved at our expense. In this situation, continuation of these contracts is not economically advisable or beneficial for Gazprom," Gazprom's chief Alexei Miller told journalists.

The Stockholm arbitration spent over three years considering two disputes between Gazprom and Naftogaz: over gas debt, from June 2014 to December 2017, and over the transit contract, from October 2014 to February 2018.

With the cold weather and resulting increase in gas consumption and prices in Europe Naftogaz urged Ukrainian households and businesses to cut gas consumption until the company has contracted necessary volumes of gas in Europe and the forecasted thaw.

Yuriy Vitrenko, Naftogaz' commercial director, said Ukraine was to receive from Gazprom 18 million cubic meters of gas per day but after the Russian company refused to comply with the agreement, Naftogaz promptly contracted the required quantities of gas in Europe.

According to Ukrtransgaz, natural gas imports to Ukraine on March 1 amounted to 2.836 million cubic meters (Slovakia - 2.539 million cubic meters, Hungary - 0.296 million cubic meters, Poland - 0.001 million cubic meters).

At the same time, if as of March 2, 4.503 million cubic meters were booked (Slovakia - 1.893 million cubic meters, Hungary - 0.549 million cubic meters, Poland - 2.061 million cubic meters) of power at the entrance to the Ukrainian gas transmission system from Europe for gas imports, as of March 3, the "reservation" already amounts to 26.387 million cubic meters (Slovakia - 16.9 million cubic meters, Hungary - 7.425 million cubic meters, Poland - 2.062 million cubic meters).

Last Saturday Poroshenko said that Ukraine had resolved its crisis with gas supplies and covering the resulting shortages. He also thanked Ukrainians for heeding the calls to use less natural gas, thus reducing its consumption by 14%, or 25 million cubic meters, on March 2.