A trilateral meeting on gas with Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission is to be held in Brussels today. It is expected that negotiations will begin after 3 p.m. Moscow time. Compliance with the "winter package" of agreements will be the main theme of the meeting.
Transit should remain and nobody should take away gas from the pipe
Alexander Kurdin, the Head of the Department for Strategic Studies in Energy of the Analytical Center, talked on RBC-TV about the possible outcome of talks in Brussels.
Is Moscow able to get some benefit from the decision of Kiev to stop supplies to Donbass? "This is not related to benefits for Moscow, this is only an additional headache. This is a new problem for Moscow, a separate gas supply to the Donbass region and Ukraine as a whole. This can be a dramatic situation. We hope, of course, that it will not come, but I do not think that the current conflict situation is beneficial to someone. Moscow will not get a positive result, if the conflict will continue", said Mr. Kurdin.
Kiev is able to stretch the supply of 50 million cubic meters of gas for 5 days. Will Moscow satisfy such small requests? "By standards of Ukraine, the largest country in Europe, it seems that this supply is small. In fact, it is huge. And when the Ukrainians say that they managed to achieve the supply of Slovakia at the level of 30 million cubic meters per day, it is positioned as a large volume and considerable success. Therefore, the amount of 50 million cubic meters is actually not so little. Especially when compared with supplies for Russian domestic customers. I do not see a problem with it, if this is not stipulated in the contract", said the expert.
The expert believes that Ukraine has some gas reserves. "Generally speaking, the situation now looks like temporary and will last for a period of the conflict regulation. In this case, of course, there are various plans related to an emergency, because in some cases supplies are to be suspended or sharply increased for reasons unrelated to political disputes," said Mr. Kurdin. Ukraine will be able to maintain a gradual mode for some time without any significant consequences for its economy, considers the expert. "The European Commission may affect Kiev to exclude the unauthorized withdrawal of transit gas. Along this line, the pressure can be strong and useful. Let Russia and Ukraine solve their problems together. Transit should remain and nobody should take away gas from the pipe", concluded the expert.