Ukraine war shatters confidence in Russian gas flows

Impact of immediate gas cut off could be devastating for industry, experts warn.

The gas pipeline operator Eustream operates pipelines with the capacity 90 billion m3.The gas pipeline operator Eustream operates pipelines with the capacity 90 billion m3. (Source: SME)

After the taps on pipelines pumping Russian gas into Europe through Ukraine were suddenly turned off by the Kremlin in 2009 over a pricing dispute, Slovakia made some major changes to its gas infrastructure, setting up a reverse flow from Western Europe and new connections to pipelines in neighbouring countries.

SkryťRemove ad
Article continues after video advertisement
SkryťRemove ad
Article continues after video advertisement

But, as the spectre of a cut off of Russian gas rears its head once again, experts point out these measures merely diversified the routes of a gas flow that still originated in the same place, and which meant Slovakia continued to be one of the most Russian gas-dependent countries in Europe.

And, they say, it remains in a perilous position if the taps are turned off again, with gas fuels making up a quarter of Slovakia’s energy mix.

“The war [in Ukraine] has irrevocably destroyed confidence in Russian natural gas,” Ján Klepáč, former executive director of the Slovak Gas and Oil Association (SPNZ) and current advisor of its presidium, said.

Speaking during a workshop on the impact of the conflict in Ukraine on Slovakia organised by SPNZ, he added: “While the issue of security of supplies resonated after the crisis in 2009 and also after 2014 [when Russia annexed Crimea], it was gradually forgotten about and pushed back by the Green Deal.”

The expert said Slovakia should now look for gas supplied from other sources, either natural gas from Azerbaijan or liquid natural gas (LNG) from the US or Qatar, alternative gases such as biomethane and hydrogen, or consider an extension of domestic natural gas production or increasing energy effectiveness.

SkryťRemove ad

Energy experts and manufacturing and gas industry chiefs have warned though that while many politicians are pushing for an immediate embargo on imports of Russian gas as part of sanctions designed to stop its aggression in Ukraine, such a move would cause huge problems for Slovakia.

“It is not possible to disconnect from Russian gas immediately without jeopardizing energy security, economic development and, let’s be honest, our own comfort,” said Klepáč.

Poker game

The rest of this article is premium content at Spectator.sk
Subscribe now for full access

I already have subscription - Sign in

Subscription provides you with:
  • Immediate access to all locked articles (premium content) on Spectator.sk
  • Special weekly news summary + an audio recording with a weekly news summary to listen to at your convenience (received on a weekly basis directly to your e-mail)
  • PDF version of the latest issue of our newspaper, The Slovak Spectator, emailed directly to you
  • Access to all premium content on Sme.sk and Korzar.sk

Top stories

News digest: No disruptions at Bratislava airport

Explore a new Mexican restaurant in Bratislava or read a foreigner's hellish experience of buying a flat in the Slovak capital.


1 h

Dubious deals between Slovak and Italian nuclear waste companies

Two contracts were concluded during Smer governments.


9 h
Illustrative stock photo

Seven stages of buying a flat in Slovakia

The Slovak property market is like a swimming pool full of confused sharks.


8 h
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

Commission greenlights Slovakia’s request for €400 million

Money should arrive in mid-summer, after a committee’s opinion is delivered to the Commission.


27. jun
SkryťClose ad