If Ukraine and Russia do not sign a new gas contract, Russian gas will be pumped into Ukrainian underground gas storage facilities from January 1, 2020, as “unspecified owner gas,” Naftogaz’s Executive Director Yuriy Vitrenko has said.
He wrote this on his Facebook page in a comment to a post regarding Naftogaz’s response to the proposal of Russian monopoly Gazprom.
“Non-documented gas entering Ukraine will be pumped into underground gas storage facilities as ‘unspecified owner gas’ as long as this gas is documented,” Vitrenko said, when asked by a Facebook user about measures to be taken by Ukraine if there is no contract for Russian gas transit from January 1, 2020, and this will be considered as smuggling.
At the same time, replying to another user’s remark that the metering stations of underground storage facilities (in particular, Bilche-Volytsia, Uherske) are also customs posts, and the customs cannot confirm the pumping of smuggled gas for storage in underground storage facilities, Vitrenko noted that Naftogaz will not explain “all the nuances, such as substitution and changes in the instructions of the customs service.”
The contract for the transit of Russian natural gas through Ukraine expires on December 31, 2019.
Gazprom on November 18 sent a formal proposal to Naftogaz on extending the current contract or signing a new contract for natural gas transit through Ukraine for a one-year period, taking into account European buyers’ projected demand for gas in 2020.
Gazprom’s proposal states that the necessary conditions for continuing the current contract or signing a new agreement are a waiver by both sides of all mutual claims in international arbitration and a cessation of all legal disputes.
On November 25, Naftogaz sent a reply to Gazprom’s proposal.
On November 25, Ukraine’s Energy and Environmental Protection Minister Oleksiy Orzhel said that Ukraine had sent Gazprom two draft contracts for gas transportation.
Ukraine’s Presidential Office reported later that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and his Russian counterpart Volodymyr Putin had discussed gas talks in the Ukraine-Russia-EU format during a phone conversation.