Russia Likely to End Gas Transit via Ukraine in 2019
It is very likely for Russia to renounce transportation of gas through the network of Ukraine, Russian Economy Minister Alexander Novak has said.
On Sunday Novak was quoted by news agency RIA as saying that Moscow would put all its effort in building the infrastructure of the so-called "Turkish Stream" gas project that is to pump gas to Turkey.
"Turkish Stream" was announced as an alternative to the South Stream project which Moscow scrapped in December of last year. Southeastern European nations, alongside Russia, argue Europe could receive gas through the pipeline via a distribution center at Turkey's border with Greece.
Novak's comments followed an announcement by Russian energy giant Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller at an international conference which also broached the issue of Turkish Stream.
Miller said on Sunday that Moscow would uphold Europe's Third Energy Package while working on Turkish Stream, and construction will not be launched unless all permissions are in place.
He added European infrastructure for accepting gas deliveries through Turkish Stream should be ready by 2019. In his words, the EU decision to block South Stream (with Bulgaria failing to ussue permits to construct in its territorial waters) was aimed at "preserving gas transit via Ukraine to Europe."
Speaking after Miller at the Valdai Club's conference, Novak added that "the [transit] contract [with Ukraine] is in force until the end of 2019" and that the construction of new infrastructure was also aimed at "diversifying transit risks."
Under the "Third Energy Package", a gas supplier cannot own the infrastructure used to carry the gas. While it was still seeking to build South Stream, Russia maintained it did not need to comply with the regulation.
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