Kremlin: hard to predict impact on Russian gas transit from Ukraine’s arbitration
(This content was produced in Russia where the law restricts coverage of Russian military operations in Ukraine)
MOSCOW (Reuters) – The Kremlin said on Monday that it was hard to predict the consequences for Russian gas transit to Europe from a new arbitration process initiated by Ukraine’s energy firm Naftogaz.
Russian gas supplies to Europe have declined significantly following the start of what Moscow calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine on Feb. 24, which triggered sweeping Western sanctions against Russia.
Naftogaz said on Friday it had initiated a new arbitration proceeding against Russia’s gas giant Gazprom, saying the Russian firm had not paid it for gas transportation through Ukraine on time or in full.
“There could be a lot of unpredictable things from both our Western colleagues and the leaders of Ukraine’s gas industry,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in reply to a question about the possible impact of the arbitration.
He also said Ukraine had already shut off one of the routes for Russian gas to Europe in May, when Ukraine’s gas operator declared force majeure citing gas theft by Russia-backed separatists and halted flows via Sokhranovka pumping point.
“So, it’s even frightful to suppose which decisions could be taken on this by Kyiv in future,” Peskov said.
He referred a question about the Nord Stream gas pipeline to Russian state energy giant Gazprom, when asked if Gazprom had asked Siemens Energy to repair a faulty turbine.
Gazprom said in early September the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, Europe’s major supply route, would remain shut as a turbine at a compressor station had an engine oil leak, sending wholesale gas prices soaring.
“As far as I understand, Gazprom has been in direct contact with Siemens (Energy), as Siemens has an obligation on technical servicing of the turbines under the current contract… At the same time Siemens, as a company, is burdened by the restriction implied by sanctions”.
Siemens Energy has said it was not currently commissioned by Gazprom to do maintenance work on the turbine with the suspected engine oil leak, but was on standby.
(Reporting by Filipp Lebedev; writing by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Philippa Fletcher)