Report: Gazprom to keep share of European gas market – exec
MOSCOW, Oct 8 (PRIME) -- Russian gas giant Gazprom plans to maintain its share on the European gas market, Viktor Zubkov, chairman of the company’s board of directors, said in an interview with Rossiya 24 television channel broadcast on Tuesday.
“How can we lose the European market if our share of the European market amounted to 34% in 2017 and grew to 37% in 2018? Direct supplies to countries are slightly shrinking this year, but it is connected to warm weather in the winter,” he said, adding that delivery of gas to European states should not contract significantly during the upcoming winter.
The liquefied natural gas (LNG) from the U.S. is also not a competitor for Gazprom in Europe, as the LNG share of the market is only 8%, and the major suppliers are still Qatar and Russia’s Novatek, he added.
Energy Minister Alexander Novak told Rossiya 24 separately that the Ukrainian gas transportation system should compete with other routes of Russian gas to Europe, that its prices and costs should be comparable. Russia has never refrained from using the Ukrainian transit route, but Moscow needs a clear understanding that Kiev is able to implement the European legislation in the sphere before January 1, 2020 and that the route is competitive.
Russia’s suggestion on prolongation of the existing transit contract means amendments in some technical parameters of the transit as the situation has changed as compared with 10 years ago. “Nevertheless, from the point of view of the regulatory base, we may use the old contract as a basis and prolong it for some time. President (Vladimir Putin) said that we could prolong it for up to a year” he said.
Novak also said that the situation with the OPAL pipeline should return to a usual state soon.
On September 10, the E.U. Court of Justice cancelled a ruling of the European Commission that allowed access of Gazprom to 100% of the OPAL capacities. But the only source of gas of the OPAL pipeline is Gazprom’s Nord Stream pipeline.
“As I see it, this is more of a political decision suited for creation of a situation prior to the gas transit negotiations that would make us see a court decision that should allow for additional discussions of gas pumping with the Ukrainian partners. That is why we expect the European Commission to make actions to protect its decisions,” he said.
“I am sure that development of legal processes regarding the OPAL pipeline would bring everything back and the pipeline will be used to its fullest capacity any day now,” he said.