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Reverse gas flow talks to continue April 28

SLOVAK Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský, Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Prodan and European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger met in Bratislava on April 24 to discuss the reverse flow of natural gas from Slovakia to Ukraine. The talks between Ukraine and Slovakia will continue on April 28 in Bratislava, and some media outlets report that the parties may sign a memorandum of understanding that would allow the shipment of 10 billion cubic metres from Slovakia to Ukraine next year.

SLOVAK Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský, Ukrainian Energy and Coal Industry Minister Yuri Prodan and European Commissioner for Energy Günther Oettinger met in Bratislava on April 24 to discuss the reverse flow of natural gas from Slovakia to Ukraine. The talks between Ukraine and Slovakia will continue on April 28 in Bratislava, and some media outlets report that the parties may sign a memorandum of understanding that would allow the shipment of 10 billion cubic metres from Slovakia to Ukraine next year.

Participants said they have made tremendous progress in the talks, even though a final agreement was not reached.

“I am sure that the following negotiations will be a contribution and will lead to signing the memorandum,” Oettinger said, as quoted by the SITA newswire.

There are two proposed routes for reverse gas supplies. While Slovakia proposes to use the unused gas pipeline connecting Vojany and Uzhgorod, Ukrainians suggest using the free capacities of four currently operating pipelines that deliver the gas from Ukraine to Slovakia (the so-called “big solution”). This alternative would bring them more gas than the other one. Malatinský, however, says it is not possible to realise the proposal.

“Legal analysis shows that on the basis of current contracts, the big solution is impossible without the agreement of Gazprom, and the small solution is possible without Gazprom’s consent,” Oettinger explained, as quoted by the BBC.

Oettinger also prefers the flow through Vojany. He said they will discuss the big solutions with Russia, but added that the small solution can be realised this year. The latter solution does not violate any contracts and is realisable, Oettinger said, as quoted by SITA.

Prodan however said that what Slovakia is offering is not sufficient.

“There are technical possibilities, for shipments of up to 30 bcm, there are legal problems in contracts... we will look for compromises on Friday, Saturday, Sunday so we can sign the memorandum,” Prodan said, as quoted by BBC.

The participants also told media that the memorandum of understanding about gas supplies from Slovakia to Ukraine will be signed on April 28, as it was originally planned. Malatinský, however, warned that Slovakia will not agree with some conditions Ukraine wants to implement into the memorandum, especially those that would force Slovakia to violate the agreement with third parties.

The representatives of the European Commission and Slovak pipeline operator Eustream will meet in Kiev on April 25. Moreover, the European Commission will discuss the reverse gas flow between Slovakia and Ukraine with Russian officials on April 28, SITA wrote.

Source: SITA, BBC

Compiled by Radka Minarechová from press reports

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