Legal issues on which pipeline to use are stalling agreement
Bratislava/ Veľké Kapušany, April 15 (ČTK) — Slovak and Ukrainian government officials failed to agree on the launch of reverse supplies of natural gas from Slovakia to Ukraine at a meeting, Slovak Ministry of Economy spokesman Stanislav Jurikovič confirmed to ČTK.
The talks on signing a memorandum of understanding on the reverse gas shipments will continue.
Gas supplies via Slovak territory would reduce Kiev’s energy dependence on Russia.
The two sides did not arrive at an agreement over a different viewing of the technical aspects of the reverse gas flow, said Jurikovič.
According to him, Slovakia is pushing for deliveries through a gas pipeline from the Slovak town of Vojany to Uzhorod in Ukraine, while Ukraine prefers a transit gas pipeline which carries Russian gas through Slovakia to Western Europe.
Slovak television channel TA3 said that the Slovak proposal is technically more demanding but legally more viable. Bratislava fears that Eustream, the Slovak gas transmission system operator, might violate contractual commitments by bringing gas through the transit pipeline.
The Russian gas giant Gazprom has recently challenged the validity of laws on the reverse gas flow to Ukraine from Western Europe, which would substitute supplies of more expensive gas from Russia.
If Slovakia comes to an agreement with Ukraine on the gas supply, it is ready to sign the memorandum, said Jurikovič. “The memorandum is ready to be signed,” he said.
The meeting, held in Veľké Kapušany in eastern Slovakia near the Ukrainian border, was attended by Slovak Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský, Ukrainian energy minister Yuri Prodan, representatives of the European Union and Eustream.
Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said last week that Bratislava wants guarantee from the EU that Slovakia will get paid for gas if it launches its shipments to Ukraine.
The German energy group RWE today announced the renewal of gas shipments to Ukraine. Gas is delivered to Ukraine via Polish territory under a five-year framework contract, which was signed by RWE’s unit and Ukraine’s Naftogaz in 2012. Up to 10 billion cubic meters of gas are supplied to Ukraine a year under the contract.