Friday, May 4, 2018

Europe Continues To Slurp Russian Natural Gas

Slurp, it's a technical term.
From Platts 'The Barrel' blog:

Nord Stream 2, other disputes fail to dent Russian natural gas flows to EU
Russia’s Gazprom continues to supply high volumes of natural gas to the EU despite long-running disputes over pipelines, competition and Ukraine, the latest S&P Global Platts guide to EU-Russian natural gas relations shows.

Flows via its 55 Bcm/year Nord Stream 1 pipeline to Germany hit a record high of 51 Bcm in 2017, helped by increased access to the onshore OPAL gas pipeline, at first just in January and then continuously from August.

The European Commission’s decision in October 2016 to allow Gazprom to access up to 12.8 Bcm/year of extra OPAL capacity through public auctions was intended to settle that particular dispute, running since 2013.

But state-owned Polish gas company PGNiG gained an interim court order to suspend the decision, causing the interruption in capacity sales from February to July. It has also asked the EU General Court in Luxembourg to annul the decision completely.

The court has said it will rule on this in 2019, and that capacity booked for after this ruling may not be guaranteed. That leaves an element of doubt over Gazprom’s future access to OPAL until the ruling is given.

While the EC has given Gazprom the green light to use more of Nord Stream 1, it is still battling fiercely against Gazprom’s planned 55 Bcm/year Nord Stream 2 project, due onstream at the end of 2019.

The latest salvo is the EC’s proposal to apply EU third energy package internal market rules to all offshore gas links with non-EU countries up to the limit of EU countries’ exclusive economic zones, which go beyond their territorial waters....MUCH MORE