First eastbound natural gas test flows cross Slovak-Ukrainian border

18 August 2014 16:11 Source:ICIS

Ukraine imported the first test volumes of natural gas in reverse flow via Slovakia on 16 August, system operator Ukrtransgaz has said.

On Saturday, 2 million cubic metres (mcm) was sent over the border through the new Vojany pipeline.

Commercial flows through the pipe – which is also referred to as the Budince nomination point – are scheduled to start on 1 September.

The point will initially have a daily interruptible capacity of 280.8GWh/day – equal to 26mcm/day. Over the coming months the amount of capacity that is available on a firm basis will increase, so that by March next year, the entire 26mcm/day will be firm.

Data from Slovak system operator shows that in September all the capacity has been booked and that this broadly remains the case through to 2019.

Shippers in central Europe will shortly be able to take even more advantage of this new link.

The Czech grid operator Net4Gas recently announced plans to expand its own reverse-flow capabilities with Slovakia at the Lanzhot point. From 16 September the capacity will increase to 75mcm/day, having previously been 70mcm/day ( see ESGM 6 August 2014 )

Currently Ukraine is only importing gas from Europea in reverse flow via Hungary and Poland, having cut import ties with Russia earlier this year. Ukrtransgaz does still transit Russian volumes onward to Europe, however.

Data from Hungarian system operator FGSZ shows that in recent days the amount of gas being sent to Ukraine has increased slightly, up to a rate of almost 5mcm/day. For much of last month it had been closer to 3mcm/day.

Flows from Poland into Ukraine are broadly stable, GAZ-SYSTEM data shows, at about 4mcm/day. Tom Marzec-Manser

By Tom Marzec-Manser