Fighting for backflow
Last week, President Viktor Yanukovych met with his Polish and Hungarian counterparts to attend the football match between Ukraine and Poland and try and develop a common algorithm of actions of the three countries in terms of preparation for the EU Summit planned for the end of the year in Vilnius, according to KW.
However, a KW article by Andriy Starostin reminds, Europe is interested primarily in relations with Ukraine in the energy sector which have not been replete with concrete actions over recent years. So far, the statistics of Ukrainian import of European gas are quite modest.
In the period January 1 to February 25, a total of 93.8 mn cu m of natural gas was supplied in the reverse direction through the gas metering station (GMS) Hermanovychy on Ukraine’s border with Poland. It was imported from Germany by RWE Supply&Trading GmbH, which started to supply gas to Ukraine on short-term contracts.
On the eve of Yanukovych’s visit to Warsaw, Poland was allocated land by Ukraine for the final stage of the Odesa-Brody-Plock project and also received centralized financing from the EU. Everybody, however, recalls what happened in 2010 when Kyiv, instead of being active in the project, decided to use it for the supply of Azeri and Venezuelan oil to Belarus. There are no guarantees that such a zigzag will not happen again the future.
For Poland, the lack of interest in the Sakhalin deposit has long become the standing joke in Ukrainian-Polish relations. There are also problems with the access of the Mazeikiu Oil Refinery to the Ukrainian market. This pressure point is heating up on the wave of talks over the need to find an original method of subsidizing Ukrainian oil refineries, by introducing protectionist import duties on oil products of European quality.
It is quite possible, the article concludes, that all three pillars on which the fairly strong Ukrainian-Polish trust rests on in the energy sector could very soon collapse. The issue is whether Polish Gaz System S.A. will be able to ensure supplies of reverse gas to Ukraine in that case. Most likely, it will not. In order to rectify the situation, it will clearly not be enough for the two president to enjoy a football match together.