Russian natural gas flow to EU avoids Ukrainian conflict zones

30 July 2014 17:01 Source:ICIS

Natural gas travelling from Russia to Europe via Ukraine has mainly flowed through the more northern Sudzha and Pisarevka connection points throughout July, data available from grid operator Ukrtransgaz shows. The four pipelines which travel closest to border-fighting between Ukrainian and pro-Russian rebel forces has, however, been avoided completely.

Ukrainian production, transmission and storage information has historically not been available from Ukrtransgaz or oil and gas incumbent Naftogaz, which – unlike member states of the EU – is not obliged to publish transparency information. Yet, much of this flow information is now being made available in an effort to meet the requirements of the EU’s second and third energy packages.

No announcements were made regarding the new information, which according to Ukrtransgaz has been available since 15 May. ICIS has found that detailed flow information from the grid operator does not appear until the beginning of July.

Traders and sources close to the central and eastern European gas markets have told ICIS they were not previously aware of the information that is now available.

From 1-27 July, gas flowing through the connection point at Sudzha on the north-eastern Russian/Ukrainian border averaged 119.5 million cubic metres (mcm)/day (see graph). During the same period, flow through the Pisarevka border point averaged 33.5mcm/day.

Smaller volumes have also been flowing most days through the Valuyki border point with Russia and the northern Kobryn border point with Belarus, which is also a transit country for Russian gas.

No gas has flown through the four connection points which would transit gas close to the centre of conflict: Serebryanka, Sokhranovka, Prokhorovka and Platovo. Detailed data is not available on these connection points before 1 July.

Fighting raging in south eastern Ukraine has been largely centred in the separatist stronghold of Donetsk.

Daily information is now also available on how much the Ukrainian system is sending into Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania’s two border points and Moldova. Using the import and export data the Ukrainian operator publishes how long or short it is of Russian gas, with discrepancies sometimes recorded at around 1mcm or 2mcm each day.

Ukrtransgaz started sending weekly stocks updates to Gas Storage Europe from the start of May, which was hailed at the time as a step towards more open dialogue between Ukraine and the European natural gas sector ( see ESGM 6 May 2014 ). Ukrtransgaz has also been updating this data on its website daily from 9 July. Miriam Siers

By Miriam Siers