Oct 17, 2021
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Kurtyka prepares kirdyk for Gazprom

In the photo: Michal Kurtyka, Minister of Climate and Environment of Poland.

In the photo: Michal Kurtyka, Minister of Climate and Environment of Poland. (Photo: CTK Photo / Michal Kamary / TASS)

At the EU summit, the Polish authorities intend to demand consideration of the issue of checking Gazprom for abuse of its monopoly position. The Minister of Climate and Environment said this on the air of Polish Radio. Michal Kurtyka

Gazprom is limiting supplies to Europe so that the EU would agree to launch the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, he said. “Unfortunately, there are naive people in Europe who think that after such concessions it will be better. In our opinion, this is a road to nowhere, ”he said, urging Europe not to agree to energy blackmail.

“The worst-case scenarios are being realized because it (the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline – ed.) Has become the subject of a game that Gazprom is playing by limiting gas supplies to Europe. They have carrying capacities on the existing gas pipelines, they could perfectly accommodate additional volumes of gas, as was done in previous years. Gazprom does not want this. Gazprom wants to force Europe to agree to Nord Stream 2. Unfortunately, in Europe there are such naive people who believe that after such concessions it will be better. In our opinion, this is a road to nowhere, ”the minister emphasized.

“At the EU meeting we will focus on the fact that Europe cannot agree to energy blackmail. This problem mostly concerns Southern Europe and Western Europe, where electricity prices largely depend on gas prices, ”he added.

“Our proposals are very far-reaching – about the need to check whether Gazprom is in a situation in which it is abusing its monopoly position. This will be our call to the European Commission. This will be our call to the rest of Europe, ”summed up Kurtyka.

At the same time, at the beginning of the month, Gazprom reported that, according to preliminary data, the company’s gas exports to non-CIS countries in January-September increased by 15.3%, to 145.8 billion cubic meters of gas. This is the second largest figure for nine months in the entire history of deliveries (149.2 billion cubic meters was in 2018).

The president Vladimir Putin On October 13, he said that the Russian Federation increased, rather than reduced, gas supplies to Europe, while other suppliers reduced them by 14 billion cubic meters, half of which came from the United States.

And the Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Alexander Novak said that Europe has not officially turned to Moscow for additional gas supplies. He also stressed that Gazprom, as the only exporter of pipeline gas, is currently fully fulfilling its obligations under all contracts.

Deputy Head of the European Commission Frans Timmermans confirmed that Gazprom is in full compliance with its contracts for the supply of gas to European buyers. However, Poland’s position still finds support. Last month, about 40 MEPs sent a letter to the European Commission calling for an investigation against Gazprom over record gas price increases. There is no doubt that Poland’s current initiative will also be considered.

– All EU bodies can check, – explains Associate Professor of the Department of Foreign Regional Studies and Foreign Policy of the Russian State University for the Humanities Vadim Trukhachev

– In this case – the European Commission, since it is she who monitors the compliance with the antimonopoly legislation.

“SP”: – What is the goal here pursued by Poland?

– Stop Nord Stream 2, ideally also Nord Stream 1. More globally – to make Gazprom play by Polish rules.

“SP”: – But Poland itself has increased the import of Russian gas. Not afraid to run into?

– Poland is by no means always rational. Russophobia among the current leadership of the country overshadows pragmatism. His Russia is always bad, and its goal is supposedly to seize Europe. And she will start, naturally, with Poland.

“SP”: – What is Kurtyka counting on? That Brussels will support him and force Germany to refuse SP-2 certification?

“That’s what he’s counting on. That the project will be stopped.

“SP”: – Why is Europe so obsessed with the fight against monopoly? If the Poles succeed in proving that Gazprom is a monopoly, then what?

– Do not exaggerate the pragmatism of the Europeans. Many of them are even ready to freeze for the sake of “reducing dependence on Russia”. They can be fined, they can be forced to pump not only Russian gas through the pipeline. There are many options.

There is no full consensus on Russia, but there is relative agreement that Russia is a threat to the EU. This is what Poland is counting on.

– As a rule, such investigations are carried out by the EC Directorate for Competition, – says Deputy Director of the National Energy Security Fund Alexey Grivach

“But there are no surprises in these statements by Poland. The voiced “violations” are exclusively in the minds of Polish politicians who are only engaged in attempts to undermine cooperation between Russia and Europe in the energy sector.

“SP”: – What is the violation here? Is it realistic to prove it?

– If you want, you can justify anything you want. It will not be possible to prove the influence of Russia on prices, because Gazprom is fulfilling contracts with its clients. But LNG, on which many have pinned their hopes in recent years, including Poland, has floated to other markets.

“SP”: – According to Kurtka, they have carrying capacity on the existing gas pipelines, they could perfectly accommodate additional volumes of gas, as it was done in previous years. Is this a hint of additional loading of the Ukrainian “pipe”?

– Transit capacities are loaded in accordance with contracts and depending on the needs of the market, which is expressed in applications from consumers under existing contracts and the conclusion of new contracts.

“SP”: – What is Kurtyka counting on? What sanctions can the EU take?

– This is the Polish line of recent years, which was aimed at breaking gas cooperation with Russia. I am afraid that this will still backfire on Polish consumers of natural gas.

As for how the EU can apply measures to Gazprom, then none, because there are no violations on the part of the latter.

“SP”: – Will the commissioning of “SP-2” really help the Europeans? Why don’t they protect him then?

– This is a good question. All sane Europeans defend. The project involves the five largest energy companies in Europe, many European contractors. Germany supported the project at the political level. Well, the opponents of the project can be sincerely “thanked” by European gas consumers. There is also a share in the rise in prices related to the uncertainty surrounding the launch of SP-2.

– The claims of the Polish side to Gazprom for any reason are not something new, reminds Energy Markets Analyst Alexander Sobko

– Now the position of Gazprom is protected from several directions at once. First, EU officials say the company is fulfilling all its obligations. Moreover, earlier in the EU it was considered a problem that Gazprom has too high a market share. Now, when Gazprom does not increase it, the dissatisfied appear again.

Secondly, there is every reason to believe the statements that Gazprom simply does not have excess capacity for export to Europe. For many years it was believed that Gazprom had flexibility and reserve capacities, but they had to end at some point – if new long-term contracts are not signed, there is no point in making additional investments.

Thirdly, such high prices are unprofitable for Gazprom itself – they destroy demand and create preconditions for switching to other sources of energy. Therefore, we hear from the Russian side at least verbal interventions aimed at lowering prices. And after Gazprom has fully pumped the necessary gas into Russian UGS facilities, it is likely that it will enter the European market with additional volumes. Now the company is producing 1.4 billion cubic meters. m per day, this is the “winter” production volume. But all of it is necessary for domestic consumption and the creation of our own stocks.

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