Why Ukraine has blocked some gas supplies from Russia to Europe

Why Ukraine has blocked some gas supplies from Russia to Europe

Ukraine has had to interrupt the flow of one of the main transit points of Russian gas to Europe, while the European Union has not yet decided whether or not to impose an embargo on Moscow's exports. At 7 am on May 11, 2022, the Ukrainian energy company Gtsou closed the taps of the Sokharanivka hub and the Novopskov border compression station on the Soyuz pipeline, due to the Russian occupation of the area.

The hubs affected by the blockade

kevin carboni "As a result of the military aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine, several Gtsou plants are located in territories temporarily controlled by Russian troops and the occupation administration", he said the Ukrainian operator in a statement. This situation, the press release continues, has led to both unauthorized gas withdrawals and interference in the "technical processes and operating modes of the plants", which have "endangered the stability and safety of the entire transport system. of Ukrainian gas ".

Why gas flows from Russia to Europe are increasing The explanation is of an economic nature and has to do with the trend in prices on the Dutch market for natural gas Title tranfer facility These "circumstances of force majeure" therefore prevent the operator Gtsou from carrying out the necessary "operational and technological checks" on the Novopskov station and have made it impossible to fulfill contractual obligations at the interconnection points that are under Russian control. Thus, Gtsou decided to temporarily move the service to the Sudzha hub, located in the territories controlled by Ukraine.

Strange as it may seem, despite the ongoing invasion, Ukraine has continued and continues to be an important transit route for Russian gas bound for the European Union, to comply with contractual obligations with European partners. The Soyuz pipeline, for example, supplies Hungary, Austria, Slovakia, Romania and Italy. However, the country cannot guarantee the safety of the plants located in the occupied territories, as well as the quantities of gas that pass through them. Separatists and invasion troops can in fact access supplies and withdraw gas to be diverted to the occupied cities, effectively stealing the European supplies for which Ukraine is responsible.

The Gtsou company has therefore preferred to shift the transit of the gas to a safe area, communicating its decision to the Russian company Gazprom, which holds the monopoly on exports. According to Reuters, Gazprom has however defined as "technologically impossible" the transfer of all volumes arriving to Sudzha station, as proposed by Gtsou. However, we cannot yet know for sure if Gazprom's analyzes correspond to reality or if they are dictated by political calculations, as the company is controlled by the Kremlin. For now, the only certainty is that for the first time since the invasion began, a large chunk of gas supplies to Europe have been cut off and it is not known when they will resume. Repubblica reports that the network operator Snam has registered a drop in inflows but reassures that it is offset by other sources.

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