Tuesday

16th Apr 2024

Russia to cut EU gas transit via Ukraine

  • The EU should start building "today" or Russian gas will go to other markets, Gazprom said. (Photo: Mitya Aleshkovsky)

Russia has said it will stop EU gas transit via Ukraine and do it via Turkey instead in the second shock announcement on energy in as many months.

It said on Wednesday (14 January) that the EU should build new infrastructure to link up with a future Russia-Turkey pipeline or lose access to supplies.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • EU energy commissioner Sefcovic in Moscow - "very surprised". (Photo: European Commission)

Gazprom head Alexei Miller issued the ultimatum during a visit to Russia by EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic, who said he was "very surprised" by the statement.

The latest announcement comes after Russia said in December it won’t build the so-called South Stream pipeline via Bulgaria and Hungary to Italy in favour of a new project with Turkey.

The European Commission blocked South Stream construction on grounds of non-compliance with EU energy law.

But both South Stream and “Turkish Stream” have strategic implications because they bypass Ukraine, which earns billions from transit fees and which is on the edge of bankruptcy.

Miller noted “the Turkish Stream is the only route along which 63 billion cubic metres of Russian gas can be supplied, which at present transit Ukraine. There are no other options”, AFP reports.

He warned Sefcovic to start building “the necessary gas transport infrastructure from the Greek and Turkish border”.

"They have a couple of years at most to do this. It's a very, very tight deadline. In order to meet the deadline, the work on building new trunk gas pipelines in European Union countries must start immediately today”, he added.

"Otherwise, these volumes of gas could end up in other markets”.

Sefcovic - who was on his first visit to Russia to meet with Miller, Russia's deputy minister Arkady Vladimirovich Dvorkovich, and energy minister Alexander Novak - reacted frostily to the news.

“I believe we can find a better solution,” he said.

“We don’t work like this … the trading system and trading habits - how we do it today - are different”.

About 80 percent of the EU's gas imports from Russia come via Ukraine.

But political disputes between Kiev and Moscow have seen EU supplies interrupted on two occasions in recent years, with Moscow justifying the Turkey decision by saying Ukraine is “unreliable”.

Meanwhile, Bulgaria had asked Sefcovic to use his visit to Russia to pitch a plan for the construction of a gas hub on Bulgaria's Black Sea coast.

But it's unclear whether Sefcovic managed to raise the subject with his Russian interlocutors.

Bulgaria lobbies Brussels on gas hub project

Bulgaria wants the EU to fund construction of a gas hub on its Black Sea coast to collect possible supplies from the area and sell them to clients in member states.

Opinion

How Hungary's teachers are taking on Viktor Orban

Orban and his administration are pursuing a strategy of running-down public education in Hungary. They have been explicit in their aims and how their assault on 'non-Christian' teachers is a small price to pay for the cultural shift they want.

Column

What do we actually mean by EU 'competitiveness'?

Enrico Letta and Mario Draghi are coming up with reports on the EU's single market and competitiveness — but although 'competitiveness' has become a buzzword, there's no consensus on a definition for what it actually means.

Latest News

  1. How Hungary's teachers are taking on Viktor Orban
  2. What do we actually mean by EU 'competitiveness'?
  3. New EU envoy Markus Pieper quits before taking up post
  4. EU puts Sudan war and famine-risk back in spotlight
  5. EU to blacklist Israeli settlers, after new sanctions on Hamas
  6. Private fears of fairtrade activist for EU election campaign
  7. Brussels venue ditches far-right conference after public pressure
  8. How German police pulled the plug on a Gaza conference

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us