New Pipelines: What Awaits the Gas Transit Through Belarus and Ukraine

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New Pipelines: What Awaits the Gas Transit Through Belarus and Ukraine

FILE IMAGE: vestikavkaza.ru

Written by Igor Yushkov; Originally appeared at Eurasia.expert; Translated by AlexD exclusively for SouthFront

The continuing construction of new pipelines by Gazprom from Russia to the EU, Nord-Stream-2 and South-Stream, will lead to the emergence of under-used transit facilities. This means that the gas transit potentially can diminish in the Ukrainian-Polish or Belarusian-Polish lines. However the continued record-breaking growth in demand in the EU for the blue fuel from Russia may even result in the future construction of Nord-Stream-3.

Poland is Sabotaging Nord-Stream 2

Recently fears re-ignited around projects on the construction of gas pipelines from Russia to Europe. Just the other day the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland Witold Waszczykowski said that the project on the delivery of Azerbaijani gas to Europe, South Gas Corridor (SGC), will allow the European consumers to diversify their sources of gas supply. It is generally true that Azerbaijani gas will effectively come to Europe. But the problem is in the volume. From 10 billion cubic metres of gas, the designed capacity of the pipeline, 8 will go to Italy, one each to Greece and Bulgaria.

Earlier, the shareholders of the development project of Shah Deniz, offshore of Azerbaijan, planned to increase the capacity of the pipeline to Europe to 20 billion cubic metres. But now Baku is experiencing problems with gas production. Production capacities are not enough to simultaneously fulfill the export quotas and provide for internal customers. In the end, the Azerbaijani state oil company has negotiated with Gazprom to purchase up to 5 billion cubic metres of Russian gas per year. So the prospects for export growth from Azerbaijan are very nebulous.

It is telling that Poland decided to publicise the South Gas Corridor. The country that has long been an opponent of the Russian Nord-Stream-2 project. It is the Polish anti-trust regulator that blocked a Gazprom and European companies joint venture to implement the construction project of a new pipeline under the Baltic Sea.

The current Waszczykowski statement, no indication of his concern for the EU’s energy security, is but an attempt to give another reason of the irrelevance of Nord-Stream-2. But the argument is clearly unsuccessful, as the Russian project and the SGS will work in different markets.

Moreover, the Azerbaijani gas, under no circumstances, will reach Poland.

The Geography of Supplies to Europe

The constant Warsaw positions against Russian gas projects are partially explained by Poland’s fear of losing the transit of the raw material through its territory. But this is not so. The transit through Belarus and Poland will be maintained in any case. Thus, both countries may sleep peacefully.

In 2016, Gazprom Export sent to European countries 178.3 billion cubic metres of gas. Of which, 146.2 billion to Eastern European countries in Turkey and another 32.1 billion cubic metre to Western and Centre European countries. For gas delivery to consumers four routes were used:

  • Nord-Stream (arriving in Germany). Delivery of the pipeline in 2016 was 80%, 43.8 billion cubic metres of gas from 55 billion full load capacity.
  • Ukraine’s GTS (including the southern branch to Turkey). The transportation in 2016 was 82.2 billion cubic metres of gas.
  • On the Belarus territory close to 40 billion cubic metres pass through (32.9 billion cubic metres a year of gas through the Yamal-Europe pipeline, 7.1 billion cubic metres through other pipelines on the republic’s territory).
  • Blue Stream, the marine pipeline from Russia to Georgia.

The Transit of Russian Gas Through Belarus

Abandoning the Belarusian-Polish gas transit route from Gazprom will not happen for several reasons.

Firstly, from an economic point of view this is one of the most profitable routes. Moreover, Gazprom is the owner of the gas pipeline on the territory of Belarus.

Secondly, due to the reduction of gas production in the North Sea, additional demand for gas is increasing in North-Western Europe where the delivery of gas is convenient especially through the Belarusian route.

Thirdly, even with the realisation of all new pipeline projects, Gazprom will not be able to give up not only the Belarusian route but the Ukrainian as well.

The Transit of Russian Gas Through Ukraine

The last point is worth to consider further. Gazprom is building two new pipelines – Nord-Stream-2 with a capacity of 55 billion cubic metres per year of gas and the Turkish Stream, two lines with a total capacity of 31.5 billion cubic metres per year. That is, should both projects be completed Gazprom will have the possibility to pump an additional 86.5 billion cubic metres of gas per year to Europe.

However, there are some peculiarities. There is the ambiguity with the second line of the Turkish Stream (15.75 billion cubic metres per year). The first one will supply the Turkish consumers with the gas that previously transited through Ukraine and Bulgaria. But where and on under what conditions will the second line of the Turkish Stream go through is not clear. While it is being built in Turkey, by the time of its completion Gazprom expects to come to an agreement on the location on the EU territory. Ideally, the concern would have like to built it on the old route of the South-Stream, through Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary and to get to Austria where the gas delivery point (Baumgarten hub) is presently located.

The second limitation is that in October the higher regional court of Dusseldorf has allowed Gazprom to load to 90% capacity the OPAL gas pipeline (one of two extensions of the Nord-Stream in Germany). This will allow Gazprom to pump an additional 10 to 12 billion cubic metres through Nord-Stream. The total maximum increase of the transport capacities of Gazprom by the end of 2019 will be approximately 98.5 billion cubic metres.

While maintaining the volume of Russian gas exports at the 2016 level, the new capacity would completely eliminate the Ukrainian GTS and another part of the pipeline capacity would be under-loaded. The surplus transport capacity was 16.3 billion cubic metres of gas per year.

However, in the period between January 1 to October 15, 2017 Gazprom increased gas exports to non-CIS countries by 10.3%. If we assume that the pace will be maintained until the end of the year, this means that in 2017 the growth in gas export was 18.4 billion cubic metres, an increase to 196.7 billion cubic metres.

Nord-Stream 3

If such a high demand for Russian gas will persist in the long term, Gazprom will have to use the Ukrainian GTS or built a new bypassing pipeline for gas transit to Europe. Deputy CEO Aleksandr Medvedev joked about the necessity of realising the Nord-Stream 3 project.

However, it would be more reasonable not to irritate the European authorities with talk about new pipelines. Recently the Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of Energy Union, Maroš Šefčovič stated that the EU would like to receive Russian gas via three routes, not two, and therefore Gazprom needs to maintain transit through Ukraine after 2019. In response, it would be possible to offer a satisfying arrangement to all: the Europeans must increase purchases of Russian gas, and even then new pipelines will not be enough to eliminate Ukraine without a transit.

Igor Yushkov, expert at the Finance University under the Government of the Russian Federation, a leading analyst of the national energy security fund

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  • TiredOfBsToo

    Last I heard, the transit route of Russian gas through Ukraine ends when the current Gazprom contract expires. Not only that, Ukraine wants to buy more expensive liquified gas from anyone other than Russia, just like they prefer to purchase more expensive coal from anywhere other than Donbass.

    • matt

      Because? Are they rich?

      • Alex

        New ukr. govmn does everything it can do destroy and loot the country.

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          • You can call me Al

            Block and report it. I just have.

      • FlorianGeyer

        If you have read anything about Ukraine in recent years Matt you will have learned that the only rich people in Ukraine are the hand full of crooked jew oligarchs and a few thousand of their corrupt helpers. The remainder of Ukranians are mostly dirt poor.

        • Daniel Castro

          All this because Yanukovich refused himself of flying a gunship heli over Maidan and open fire on the nazis.

          • Justin

            true, but in the end, Russia got back Crimea, Have foothold within eastern Ukraine and soon, Ukraine will be begging on its knees for Russia to take it back, because Europe certainly isn’t going to allow Ukraine to suck from it!
            The Syrian war is almost complete and the pans to steal away Russia’s market to Europe failed!
            Now Russia will supply more gas via more Routes!
            Ukraine is totally fucked now!
            They cannot sustain this war in East Ukraine because they need coal and gas! Their nuclear power plants are running on incompatible US uranium rods! They are being shut down all the time!
            Soon a winter will come and Ukraine will be totally FUCKED!

            When that happens their leader will be ousted!
            Too expensive to get gas from the US!
            They will have to re-buy gas from Hungary that passed through Ukraine hahaha!
            They used to get almost half price gas, now they pay the full amount!
            But they will fuck up the pipelines just to steal gas!
            Russia will shut them off and utilise Turkstream!

            Ukraine is totally fucked now because of Russian successes in syria!
            This winter or next winter is when the problems for Ukraine begin!

          • Daniel Castro

            But russians are better start learning to be more assertive, they could have both Ukraine and Syria intact if they just had chose to

            a) Blow a few fucking ukronazis into a bloody pulp.

            b) Give the Turks and USA the finger and stay pounding zioterrorists in Syria into oblivion back when they had their full airgroup in Hmeymim airbase.

            Now Ukraine and Syria are in Shambles, and it is all because Russia pointlessly tried to appease the west.

            Oh, and don’t forget they left Gadaphi to the Jackals in 2011, now whole Africa is paying for that mistake.

            It seems Putin is awake now though, but it’s beginning to look like too late for Syria with Turks, ziokurds and USA bases all around. The only real longstanding positive prospect is China petroyuan coming to reality, if that works out it will be a huge strategic victory, but a very expensive one I should say.

          • Lex

            Daniel Castro – there is a lot more to statecraft than just bombing and killing those who get in your way. This is the major strategic failure of the US and NATO – the inability to use diplomacy and soft power to achieve goals. War is a mere tool – not a useful end in itself. This was clearly demonstrated in a video I just watched showing the US-backed militants declaration of “liberation” in an empty stadium, surrounded by ruins – not a citizen in sight. Meanwhile, what is the viability of the so-called “Rojava”? Surrounded by Syrian government, Iranian-backed Iraq, the former “Kurdish region” and totally hostile Turkey – it takes years to build pipelines and infrastructure, and an equal amount of effort to negotiate the deals needed to actually sell things like oil and gas. You can’t just pop it in a bag and ask for some money. Ukraine is now experiencing this very thing – without the gas transiting their country, there is not really much else going on there. They can’t make decent stuff, and corruption has ruined all their infrastructure. I guarantee you, some time in the next few months a president less hostile to Russia will emerge, and the entire EU will breath a sigh of relief. Gaddafi was a tragedy, but strategically it was a good demonstration of the wickedness of NATO and the West – hence the current rise of the Sino-Russian world order. Cheer up – things are going very well. Don’t listen to the many out there who would love to see us all fight over this stuff. World strategy takes place over years, not days.

          • Daniel Castro

            “there is a lot more to statecraft than just bombing and killing those who get in your way. This is the major strategic failure of the US and NATO – the inability to use diplomacy and soft power to achieve goals. War is a mere tool – not a useful end in itself. ”

            I agree with you, and don’t get me wrong, I’m pro Russia, but I have to play the devil’s advocate here because I see excessive optimism which only blinds people about the reality. Russia did play too nicely to the west until very recently, want some proof?

            Everything that happened started in Lybia with Gadaphi’s murder, if not for that there would be no arab spring, no syrian war, no yemen war, and so on, and what was the trigger? It all happened because russians didn’t use the veto power on UNSC to protect Gadaphi from western aggression, nothing more, nothing less, on the strike of a pen russians could have avoided all this bloodshed, including Ukraine which happened exactly because NATO tried to bloc russian access to the Black Sea, so they couldn’t get in the way of their plans in the middle east.

            So, yes, russians were too naive, too condesending to the west, and Putin himself admited to that very recently saying it was russian mistake to trust in USA… But I ask myself to what extent was that trust? To think they retreated half their airgroup in Syria back in 2015 trusting americans would at some point stopping funding terrorism is, and sorry for that… just stupid… Now, please, stop trusting in the West, NATO, Turkey, USA, these folks wil always backstab you everytime, there is no point in negotiations with them, the only viable alternative is military, that’s the reality, stop fooling yourselves.

            Zionists will always choose the worse alternative for their enemies, they don’t care SDF territory will be a miserable unsustainable shit, they will try to divide Syria one way or another, if they must they will cut their noses to spite their faces.

            Like I said, let’s hope petroyuan be the mortal blow to western perpetual aggression, or else all this war just meant the eastern powers just lost a lot of ground.

          • Justin

            It seems u want war! Id say the russians are being very careful! They had clear red lines and the west did cross them but the Russians responded with the appropriate force to counter these incidents! Instead of looking like perpetrators they now look like responsible peace keepers and liberators!

            Instead of ukraine being in a war, they will be crawling back to russia on their knees!

        • matt

          Sure, Viktor Yanukovych, Rinat Akhmetov, Petro Poroshenko, Leonid Chernovetskyi,Andriy Klyuyev, all jewish

          You are pathetic

          • FlorianGeyer

            If you care to research their bloodlines they all are jewish , although some of them ,or their parents, decided to take the name of another faith in order to hide their ‘jewishness’. Poroshenkos father for instance was a jewish mobster who attempted to hide his roots.

            “According to the popular Russian television channel Russia-1, Poroshenko’s father was a Jew named Alexei Valtsman from the Odessa region who in 1956 took on the last name of his wife, Yevgenya Poroshenko.
            Read more: http://forward.com/news/world/198758/ukraine-presidential-frontrunner-petro-poroshenko/

            http://forward.com/news/world/198758/ukraine-presidential-frontrunner-petro-poroshenko/

            http://www.realjewnews.com/?p=937

            http://www.whatdoesitmean.com/index1772.htm

          • matt

            So, one has a “jewish” father. He is not, his mother is not jewish …

            You are full of shit Florian

          • Tudor Miron

            Matty…you’re not even funny “his mother is not jewish” :) So president Valtsman is not jewish enough for you guys?

          • matt

            you guys???? what is jewish in your world??? In judeasm, you need a jewish mother or 10 years of jewish studies and an exam to be jewish

          • Tudor Miron

            “or 10 years of jewish studies and an exam to be jewish” :)

          • FlorianGeyer

            Here are just a few Ukranian oligarchs with dual Israeli citizenship. When challenged that it was illegal for him to have Dual Ukranian /Israeli citizenship he replied that the law did not apply to him as he had three ! Ukranian,Israeli and Cypriot.

            https://davidduke.com/russian-oligarchs-mostly-zionist-supremacists-says-israeli-media-2/

          • matt

            are u kidding me? from this white piece of shit website!?!? The most funny part is his name:DAVID hahahahaha!!!!!
            You are aware that a lot of “so called jewish” Russian criminals bought their Israeli passport? Remember, i am not a Israel supporter!!!
            If you check them on WIKIPEDIA, their Israeli nationality is out in the open, not hidden at all..

            Above that, they are Russian, so Friends with Putin, your favourite politrician!!!

          • FlorianGeyer

            Wikipedia has become Jewpedia as you well know Matt.

          • matt

            But, it confirms the “hidden” nationalities ….
            Again, your story is HORSECRAP

          • FlorianGeyer

            Even your ‘faeces’ arguments lack substance Matt.

          • matt

            ? the story about “hidden” nationalities is untrue. It is not hidden, but public on wiki!!

          • matt

            These guys are hardcore capitalists, wich i despite!! I am an anarchist in case you did not notice…. capitalism is a concept that was invented in Europe, and in the beginning it fitted the (protestant) christians very well to let the jews do the dirty work….as ALL humans are hypocrites. Today, a small group of jews have way too much power, i do not denie! This is however not necesarily because they are jewish. Therefore, your earlier statement for not taking jewish blood in case of emergency is still very stupid and fits only with imbeciles and deluted people.

          • FlorianGeyer

            I would still refuse jewish blood.

            You said ” to let the jews do the dirty work.”

            You need to go back in history Matt.
            Jews were used as tax collectors by the Muslims in Spain for very many decades and after the Muslims were forced to leave the Spanish Inquisition began to punish the jews for their abuse of the Spanish Christians.

          • matt

            What is your point? How, the “jews” are our enemys?

          • FlorianGeyer

            If you care to look at Jewish history for the last 2000+ years you will find the answer Matt.

          • matt

            history is propaganda…..

      • Justin

        Hell no! They are dead broke!

        • matt

          That is why the assumption is horsecrap…

      • TiredOfBsToo

        Because Nazis are anti-Russian as is their primary sponsor, the US.

        • matt

          And Russian nazis?

    • You can call me Al

      and that is the core of the issue. Ukraine, Poland and other muppets want to appease their leaders in Washington.

      • TiredOfBsToo

        Agreed, and at their own expense too. Look at the foolish Europeans who were so eager to kill their agriculture when the dog barked it’s orders.

        • You can call me Al

          I have no knowledge of that, I am surprised if we did….any chance of a link please or I’ll have a look around in the morning. Cheers

          • TiredOfBsToo

            I should have said EU not Europeans (sorry), as the European people appear to be in the same position as Americans, corrupt governments controlled by money. What I was referring to, you probably know already but I’ll say it anyway; sanctions against Russia with a bs excuse for it and a and a Russian response against European agriculture, which of course the EU didn’t care about, because it only affects their people and not the monied interests and, like good vassals of the Empire, they had to oblige. I typically refer to the governments of countries, rather than the people of them, as the governments rarely work for their people.

          • You can call me Al

            Understood now thanks.

            I think you underestimate the strong links between Russia and Europe (in general).

          • TiredOfBsToo

            I hope you’re right. So far the noise I’m hearing from Germany’s foreign minister sounds good, but then the Empire controls the SWIFT payment system.

          • You can call me Al

            Well if Europe is completing a competitor to the GPS system, a new version of the SWIFT system should be pretty simple.

          • TiredOfBsToo

            Or they could use the Chinese one.

          • You can call me Al

            Oh… don’t tell me we are years behind everyone else; gee that would shock me.

            PS I didn’t realise the Chinese had one.

          • TiredOfBsToo

            It’s called CIPS and first phase launched in 2015. Here’s an interesting link for you….. https://journal-neo.org/2017/10/19/china-ruble-settlement-and-the-dollar-system/

  • Lex

    The combination of the recent arms depot explosions, car bombings and the sudden arrival of the wily old Georgian (flanked by Tymoshenko) suggests there are moves underway to get rid of the embarrassing Poroshenko – not to mention those marching Nazis, such a bad look! The powers that be are trying to clean up the latest regime change disaster in Europe – now the West has realized that the “unipolar moment” passed a lot quicker than they thought it would. Russia is back – and China’s quiet solidarity means they have a lot more power in the world than any other faction. 2018 – the year of the dog – will see major shifts as the two countries which were able to get rid of so many parasitic influences through communist revolutions finally take their places as masters of a world order based on justice, prosperity and respect for other nations.

    • matt

      dream on