17 July, 2018 – Trilateral gas talks

In the context of time running short before the expiry at the end of 2019 of the long-term (10 years) gas deliveries and transit contracts between Gazprom and Naftogaz, a trilateral meeting between Russia, Ukraine and the European Commission on gas transit via Ukraine was held in Berlin on 17 July. The CEOs of Gazprom and Naftogaz also attended the meeting.

According to VP Sefcovic [Maroš Šefčovič (24.06.1966), Vice-President of the European Commission since 2014], the main result of the meeting was the establishment of a trilateral process by which the parties will remain engaged in dialogue at both expert and political level, and will regularly meet for trilateral talks, with a frequency of six to eight weeks.

Four issues were identified as requiring immediate work by experts: the European Union’s gas needs; ways in which the EU law applied in Ukraine would impact on the future transit contract; the issue of the certified transmission system operator; and the tariffs. The experts are due to meet in mid-September in order to discuss these issues and prepare the ground for the next trilateral meeting at the political level that should take place in the course of October.

Energy Minister Novak [Novak Alexander Valentinovich (23.08.1971), Energy Minister of Russian Federation since 2012] referred to the meeting as a constructive one. In his opinion, the European demand for Russian gas could increase by 10-15% within the next ten years, and this could be one of the possible sources for maintaining the gas transit via Ukraine.
The Russian side is ready to consider different options for continuation of the gas transit via Ukraine including an extension of the existing gas transit contract or concluding a new contract. According to Novak, the major precondition for reaching an agreement on gas transit via Ukraine is that Russia and Ukraine have to solve all outstanding legal disputes, including those deriving from the Stockholm arbitration, before starting a new relationship.

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