Ukraine cannot postpone tender to select partner in managing GTS – Naftogaz board chairman
National joint-stock company Naftogaz Ukrainy insists on the soon announcement of a tender to select a strategic international partner to manage the Ukrainian gas transport system (GTS), Naftogaz Board Chairman Andriy Kobolev has said.
"We have said for a long time that this must be done quickly. I believe that there is already no time left," he told journalists on the sidelines of the 15th YES Conference organized by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation in Kyiv on Saturday, asked whether the company keeps plans for issuing eurobonds in the current conditions.
Speaking at the conference, Kobolev said that the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline could be completed within two years.
"As soon as the project is completed, all calculations show that there will be no transit through the Ukrainian territory: some of the gas will be moved to the Turkish Stream, remaining part will be moved to the North Stream 2," he said.
He said that this would result in Naftogaz losing $3 billion a year - the revenues that the company now receives from transit and which correspond to almost 3% of Ukraine's GDP.
"But it is not only about money… it's also about our security, and by saying our security I believe it is also obvious it is also about security of the whole European Union… If gas transit leaves our country, we are very confident that this will open way for a full-scale military aggression from Russia towards Ukraine," Kobolev said.
He said that he does not believe in the possibility of tariff competition after the construction of Nord Stream 2, since there is already a precedent when, after the launch of Nord Stream 1, it was completely filled with Russian gas that had been previously transited through Ukraine, despite the fact that the Ukrainian GTS had the lowest transit rate.
In this regard, Kobolev called on Europe to unite in the matter of extending the requirements of the Third Energy Package to the Nord Stream 2.
Deputy Foreign Minister for European Integration Olena Zerkal recalled that the application of European legislation allowed the South Stream project to be stopped in due time.
She also said that the compromise option offered to Ukraine for maintaining a certain amount of transit after the launch of Nord Stream 2 requires guarantees.
"How can you talk about Russia as a reliable partner when it does not respect any rules, any rulings of any international court, any rulings of international arbitration, which can break all words and actually all deals," the deputy foreign minister said.