Numerous claims put forward by Russia on the use of gas as a tool of political pressure, the West can now turn to your own address. Germany has officially nominated Russian requirements for the implementation of the project "North Stream - 2», and at least one of them is of a purely political nature. Of course, associated with the Ukraine. whether Gazprom will meet?
Germany is ready to support the project "North Stream - 2» subject to three key conditions, said the Vice-Chancellor and Minister of Economy and Energy of the Federal Republic of Germany, Sigmar Gabriel. Firstly, it must comply with existing EU rules, and secondly, should not have any negative effect on gas transit through Ukraine, and thirdly, should not hinder the supply of gas to Eastern Europe.
Gabriel confirmed that and it was already clear: the third EU energy package is not related to the project "North Stream - 2». "We have a clear legal position, and I am sure that it shares the legal service of the European Commission. It lies in the fact that the pipeline is not subject to a package of laws that operate in the EU internal market, "- was quoted as saying by Bloomberg. "Nord Stream - 2», as well as the first tube, does not go through the territory of the EU, therefore, not subject to the European legislation.
Interestingly, Gabriel says that, from the position of Germany, the "Nord Stream - 2» is an issue that needs to be evaluated from an economic point of view, rather than political. At the same time exhibited at the same time the conditions are clear taste policy.
These statements German representative made before the meeting of the representatives of Germany and the European Commission (EC), which was held on Wednesday in Berlin. They discussed issues of gas pipelines in the system "Nord Stream". Participation took the minister and European Commissioner for Climate Miguel Arias Cañete.
The talks did not add anything new. Berlin's position on the draft terms of support for the pipeline "Nord Stream - 2" remains unchanged, said RIA "Novosti" the official representative of the German Ministry of Economy and Energy after the meeting.
According to her, these are the conditions that have been formulated by Germany in the fall, and they have survived to this day. But she refused to comment on the negotiations, recalling once again the words of the Minister that the "Nord Stream - 2" in this case is a commercial project, the project consortium. "
The project "North Stream - 2» involves the construction of two lines with a total capacity of the gas pipeline 55 billion cubic meters of gas a year from the Russian coast of the Baltic Sea to Germany. Gazprom will own 50% in the project by European companies OMV, BASF, Engie, Shell, Uniper (isolated from E.On) - on 10%. The new pipeline is planned to build near the "Nord Stream".
With the fulfillment of the two conditions, there are no problems, but with the preservation of transit through Ukraine, Germany is kinking the stick.
As regards the first condition - compliance with European law, the Minister of Economy and Energy of the Federal Republic of Germany itself pointed out that the scope of the Third Energy Package "Nord Stream - 2» does not fall. This may be only the continuation of the pipe of the European territory - the same pipeline Opal.
"It is obvious that the European rules will be implemented. Gas comes under the Baltic Sea - from Vyborg in Russia to Greifswald, Germany, and then he will be shared, of course, on the European rules. Gazprom never insisted on the exclusion of the Third Energy Package, because in the story of Opal is already clear that there will be no exceptions, "- says CEO of the National Energy Security Fund Konstantin Simonov.
Gas through the "Nord Stream" reaches Germany, and already through the German territory through the Opal gas pipeline goes to customers. Due to the norms of the Third Energy Package, Gazprom was allowed to pump gas through Opal only at 50% of the pipe's capacity. The remaining half was left for a certain "other supplier", which is not in sight. She's just idle. According to the norms of the Third Energy Package on the territory of the EU, the pipeline must be provided with access for any gas supplier. At first, Gazprom tried to achieve an exception (the TAP gas pipeline was given such a price for the Azeri gas), but after resigned attempts to reconcile. The same scheme will be used for the "North Stream - 2", and here Gazprom does not even raise the issue of exceptions.
Exactly the same with ease Gazprom will fulfill another requirement "because the North - 2» - not to interfere with the supply of gas to Eastern Europe.
"How can we prevent the delivery of an alternative gas to Eastern Europe? For example, build an LNG terminal in Swinoujscie, however, it stands empty. Poland awaits 1,5 billion cubic meters of Qatari gas at terminal facilities in 5 billion cubic meters. We are, perhaps, let LNG supplies to the Polish terminal? No, "- explains a gas expert.
There is also an LNG plant construction plan in Croatia and connecting it with the Baltic pipe terminal in Swinoujscie. "This is crazy from a commercial point of view, but we did not let: want - build if you have nowhere to put the money. You 80% of terminals in Europe are empty, but you continue to build them - for God's sake. But we, as this can interfere? "- Wonders Simonov.
Lithuania also has built LNG terminal and began to purchase Norwegian liquefied gas. She has long promised to be the first US LNG buyer, but then changed her mind. "Lithuania has refused to buy American LNG under the guise of environmental requirements, in fact it is not like the price. She is already thinking how to get back to the Russian supply, "- said Simonov.
"We can not interfere with the diversification of supply (Europe), even if such a desire is. Just in Europe there is no alternative gas physically, there is no volume, and secondly, our gas at the price still is absolutely competitive, and a period of low prices is even more clearly demonstrated ", - said the expert.
Moreover, even if competitors start a price war on the European gas market, they simply do not have the strength to win Gazprom. Just a week ago, Gazprom deputy chairman Alexander Medvedev said that the company's cost of production remains the lowest in the world: about 20 dollars per thousand cubic meters (including taxes).
In the summer of 2015 years in Gazprom told the cost of gas production in the 2015 30, in less dollars per thousand cubic meters against the 38 2014 dollars a year, including the MET. Translated into rubles it was about 1435 rubles per thousand cubic meters. At the current rate of the dollar is just 20 dollars.
"It is obvious that we will survive the price even lower 100 dollars per thousand cubic meters, in terms of price competition. No other manufacturer, including Norway, such prices can not keep "- says the head of FNES.
The only condition that Russia can not fully fulfill concerns, of course, the requirement to preserve Ukraine as a transit country. "Obviously, when commissioning the Nord Stream - 2, we will reduce supplies through Ukraine. A direct route is built exactly as an alternative to a transit route, "Simonov said. But on the other hand, the "Nord Stream - 2" does not completely kill the Ukrainian transit, because the issue remains with the supply of Russian gas to the southern countries: Greece, Bulgaria, the Balkan countries (including Serbia) and, finally, Turkey. Estimated when Nord Stream - 2 is commissioned, Ukraine will keep the transit of Russian gas in the amount of 20-30 billion cubic meters. In 2014, through Ukraine, 62 billion cubic meters were pumped, 2015 billion in 65. For this, Ukraine received about 2 billion dollars in transit payments each year.
"It turns out that we can partially fulfill the condition that we do not completely stop the transit through Ukraine, unless, of course, does not solve the problem with the" South "," Turkish "or other similar conduit. If this issue is solved, then the end of the transit through Ukraine as a whole ", - agrees Simonov.
In addition, it is worth recalling that Germany, in contrast, for example, from the United States and the same in Ukraine officially declares that the "Nord Stream - 2» - a purely commercial project in any case, not a political one. Why is it then puts forward political demands for its realization?
"The requirement to maintain Ukraine in transit - a purely political one. The European rules somewhere says that the manufacturer must necessarily in the presence of Ukraine to use its features and does not have the right to directly deliver the goods? This is not in any European law. Based on what we have to ensure its filling pipe? Through whom we are to transit gas - this is a purely commercial issue. We have a contract with Ukraine in January 1 2020 end of the year, we may well not to renew it, and it is a matter of commercial relations "- surprised Simonov.
Paradoxically, in his opinion, the fact that Europe is constantly accuses Russia of political demands, although primarily engaged in it herself. "We are asked to constantly keep the Ukrainian transit. This is a political or commercial question? If the political, then we are not accused of politicization. If this is a commercial issue, we carry a valid contract, and to 2020 years transit, of course, will be, but after renew the commercial agreement or not - it is a question of our desire, "- said Simonov.
Here, Europe must itself consider what she wants - a reliable and guaranteed supply of fuel or revenue for Ukraine. Because saving transit via Ukraine creates risks including gas for the buyer - Europe.
"They see Ukraine as a headache for themselves or wish to help her in every way? When the gas crisis began in January 2009 years, no European policy for some reason not stated that he was ready to take on responsibility for Ukraine as a transit country. On the contrary, they all said that Gazprom is contracted to deliver gas to European borders, and that it had happened with Ukraine - though he knows himself. Hence, having all these problems, "- recalls Simonov.