Ukraine for 30 days before the collapse. The gas policy and gas

Украина за 30 дней до коллапса. Газовая политика и политический газ

© RIA Novosti, Ilya Pitalev Wednesday, November 27, the court of Appeals of the district of Svea (Sweden) dismissed the appeal of “Gazprom” in the Stockholm court verdict on the dispute with Naftogaz. Litigation, however, does not end there. Meanwhile, the contract on gas transit to the EU via the Ukrainian GTS will expire on 31 December. Still not clear whether it will be concluded and on what terms.Gas to Ukraine was originally a function and instrument of policy. Virtually all of the largest state of Ukraine basically have the funds earned on the resale of cheap Russian gas to Europe. Even Poroshenko had little share in this business. All major state of Ukraine has been strengthened by state subsidies through the imposition of low tariffs. Both were achieved through proximity to power.

Eventually gas was used as a weapon for internal politics after independence in 2004 , Tymoshenko used gas against the other oligarchs and against Yushchenko. It ended, however, the fact that she was struck the other end of the same shaft — electoral defeat and subsequent imprisonment in women’s colony was a direct result of the signing of gas agreements with Russia in 2009.And finally, the Ukrainian transit the United States was used to influence Russia and the EU. Later, the opportunity to influence the neighbors with the gas pipe were appreciated by the Ukrainian elite.

The current gas conflict is connected with intention of Russia to minimize the transit of gas through territory of Ukraine. Ukraine, respectively, struggling to maintain possibly large amounts of transit (Ukraine need 40, and preferably 60 billion cubic meters, Russia also intends to leave 15-20 billion) and perhaps more favorable terms of direct supply. Surprisingly, but the Ukrainian position is very rational.

However, according to Valentin Zemlyansky, this rationality is quite far from the interests of the country and even of the “Naftogaz”: “the leadership of “Naftogaz” is not interested in signing contracts with Russia (…), because the lack of contracts increases the market capitalization,” says the Ukrainian expert Zemlyansky. A leading Russian expert in the field of energy Konstantin Simonov says that the new transit agreement will not be entered into without waiver of payment on the results of the Stockholm arbitration and the future of the courts. Meanwhile, the leadership of “Naftogaz” has already received a record prize for the winning process, i.e., it is fighting for your own money, which in any case will be stripped from the state budget.

At the same time, the positions of the parties are highly politicized.

Now a different mode, because the schizophrenic version about the fact that the transit of gas to guarantee security of Ukraine from the “Russian aggression” is almost never used. But still mentioned at least schizophrenic idea that the gas coming through Nord stream, is key to Russian influence in the EU, and the same gas, but the Ukrainian GTS is not. In the Annex to the Ukraine this ideological concept in the wording of Konstantin Simonov looks like this: “if you give the pipe Moscow, then Ukraine will not be as an independent country.” He did not rule out that the meeting in “Norman format” Zelensky will try to link the issue of transit with the implementation of the Minsk agreements (in fact, this scenario also seems likely).
In addition, in practice, the Ukrainian GTS has long been a tool of the United States to prevent rapprochement between Russia and the EU. Success in this regard is obvious — in the previous gas crises, the US was able to present Russia as the guilty party. And now the Ukrainian Pro-government political analyst Volodymyr Fesenko in an exclusive interview Ukraine.ru indicates that a new gas conflict will lead to the fact that Russia “will be presented as an unreliable partner in the eyes of the EU, and in Ukraine it will be another confirmation of its aggressive policy and show Russia as an enemy.”

Actually, the situation isn’t what it was ten years ago that consisted of current gas contracts. Both Russia and the EU know that the problem is inability to negotiate Ukraine. Hence the joint interest of Russia and Europe in the construction of the bypass pipeline. Here we can agree with Vladimir Fesenko, who believes that these projects “there is no economic logic, rather it is a secondary or even tertiary”. SP-2 is not built because it’s cheaper, but because both sides do not trust Ukraine as a transit country, tomorrow it may all quarrel and shut off the gas, if not in compliance with the covenants of Viktor Yushchenko decides to “protect” Europe from “Russian gas aggression” and to blow up the tube (this kind of threats were heard by Ukrainian nationalists).

However, having lost transit, Ukraine is too much to lose.

From the point of view of economic it loses about $3 billion in transit fees and the pressure in the pipe, which allows its use for the transportation of gas across the country. Accordingly, this means a rise in gas prices and a reduction in the transmission infrastructure.However, there is a different version. Marat Bashirov, for example, doubts that “Gazprom” will completely refuse from Ukrainian direction. First, the Ukrainian GTS is cheaper “Turkish stream.” Second, the “Ukrainian market is promising. (…) If we lose him, then run to the Americans with liquefied natural gas (LNG) and Poland, which will not refuse from gas from Russia, while us LNG would be resold at a premium of Ukraine in the peak periods”. At the same time, Konstantin Simonov believes that “the complete termination of transit through Ukraine will be at 10 am on the first of January 2020”, due to the position of “Naftogaz”, which intends to withdraw without an agreement of the transported gas. However, he thinks “the first quarter can be made without the involvement of Ukraine, especially if in Europe will be warm weather.”

From the point of view of political, Ukraine largely loses interest for Russia, Europe and the United States. Moreover, the loss of the American interest will affect the country more positively. As said the publication of Ukraine.ru Andrei Zolotarev, “are more influenced by the position of Ukraine as a geopolitical tool of the United States. That is, if it were not for this factor, the position of the Ukrainian side would dominate not political issues and a healthy pragmatism”. But the loss of interest on the part of the Russian Federation (already virtually achieved) could lead to financial losses.

Insights

1. The Ukrainian political elite fell into the trap that you set yourself. First she turned Russian gas in a very profitable business, privorovyvat and creating for their companies in a privileged position at the expense of tariffs (their business is lower, population — higher). Moreover, since gas prices partially repaid by the state, Ukrainian businesses, it turns out, thrived thus due to government subsidies (although not direct). But to set the rates for themselves, the Ukrainian business was included as a knife through butter — politics. And made gas — universal political weapon. Now, sparkle, it’s a weapon of the Ukrainian business began to apply not only in Ukraine’s internal squabbles, but in 2009 for foreign policy aims, in fact, blackmailing the gas transportation system of Russia. Ultimately, the use of gas as a political factor led to the fact that Russia (producing gas) and Europe (consuming gas) were forced to abandon the Ukrainian gas transport system, by constructing three alternate branches (construction of Turkish and Northern threads are now in the final phase). Thus, the Ukrainian elite in a few months, not just losing transit as a political weapon, which she used in the foreign game.

2. At a certain stage in this political game involved the U.S., which, starting in 2013 can produce shale gas in volumes significantly exceeding their own consumption. To implement it on the European market, the United States should remove or severely limit Russia. To this end, starting in 2013 the U.S. began active measures in Ukraine (Euromaidan, the atoms, the civil war in the Donbass, unprecedented sanctions) to impede gas supplies from Russia to Europe through Ukraine. Almost achieving their objectives, the United States faced a consolidated, although not expressed explicitly by the protest of European States, primarily with the “EU locomotive” — Germany and France, which are at first flattering US, at the same time started together with Russia a number of projects, primarily the construction of Nord stream-2.

3. At the current stage of the gas conflict the US and Russia are not exhausted, and is entering a new phase. It dramatizes the parallel construction of Russian (Gazprom) gas pipeline to China “Power of Siberia”, which in the future opens Russia’s extensive Pacific and Asian markets. In this situation, the Ukrainian vector gradually ceases to be important in the foreign conflict, the US and Russia and the Ukrainian component of this conflict goes to the secondary level. Hence, the gradual withdrawal of support from the US and the EU of Ukraine and the transition to a peaceful resolution of the civil conflict in the Donbass.

4. In the current situation, the Ukrainian leadership does not remain arguments and tools to deal with Russia for “their square”. In fact, from January 1, 2020 Ukraine is left alone with their unresolved issues on gas transit and direct or so-called “reverse” supply of gas and goes into the category of countries of inertia to consume more expensive American liquefied natural gas supplied through Poland. But it will be a completely different story.Source

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