EU Not to Switch to Norwegian Gas – Experts
Ukraine, Kiev, 8 February / Trend corr Z. Novosvitski, A. Badalova / Igor Didenko, the first deputy chair of the board of the Naftogaz Ukrainy, left for the Moscow in order to negotiate with the administration of Gazprom OJSC, for the settlement of the conflict regarding gas supply to Ukraine, Naftogaz Ukrainy reported.
On 8 February, Gazprom stated that it may suspend gas supply to Ukraine from 11 February. By 7 Feb, the amount of unpaid Russian gas made up 1.5bln cu m in Ukraine.
Taking into consideration that the Russian gas supply to Ukraine is not envisaged in the plans of Gazprom for 2008, so in order to continue the gas supply, Gazprom urges Ukraine to immediately provide the juridical basis for that, and also to sign the corresponding contracts and acts, as well as pay off all its debts. Otherwise, Gazprom will stop the gas supply to Ukraine.
Naftogaz considers the accusation of unsanctioned gas supply, groundless.
The experts interviewed by Trend on 8 February believe that the gas problems between Russia and Ukraine will not affect the European target consumers of the gas.
According to the political scientist Azer Mursaliyev, the deputy editor-in-chief of the Russian Kommersant newspaper, the conflict will not affect Europe, as Gazprom had earlier informed EU of possible breaks in gas supply. "Special problems will not occur. Ukraine is not the single gas route to Europe," Mursaliyev said.
According to the oil and gas analyst in the Antanta Capital company, Timur Khayrullin, even in the case of deterioration of the conflict with Ukraine, Gazprom will preserve the reputation of a reliable fuel supplier, as it had already notified the EU about the disagreements with Ukraine which can lead to breaks in supplies.
"We hope the gas supply issue will be solved by 12 February, when the meeting of the Ukrainian-Russian commission takes place," Khayrullin said.
The experts believe that in case Gazprom cuts the gas supply for a long term, the EU countries will not be able to switch to the Norwegian gas of Statoil. "It will be problematic to switch to the alternative suppliers, as production in the North Sea is decreasing and the liquefied natural gas of the Persian Gulf's countries is more expensive," Khayrullin said.
"First of all, the Russian gas is cheaper than that of Norway. Moreover, Norway will not be able to cover all demands of the gas consumers in Europe," Mursaliyev said.