Friday, March 16, 2012

Turkmenistan Gas not Flowing To Ukraine Without Gazprom’s Help....

Yuri Korolchuk

Yanukovych and Berdymukhammedov agreed to resist the "South Stream"...

The era of cheap gas has passed $ 50. And of Turkmen gas as a "lifeline" should be quickly forgotten.

The warming of relations between Ukraine and Turkmenistan, which can be seen in the last six months, is not an accident. The main purpose of the just concluded visit of President of Turkmenistan Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in the Ukraine has become a "game" called to convince the President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych’s more Russian plans to actively oppose the pipeline "South Stream". At the same time Yanukovych did not take long to convince, because it has long been the position of the failure of gas pipelines bypassing the idea and tries to find support in this matter from the European Union.

Revealing factor is that the first time after a decade hiatus Turkmen president visited Ukraine with official visit. Even earlier, in September last year a visit of President of Ukraine Yanukovich in Turkmenistan. And then the parties also discussed the greater willingness of Turkmenistan does not sell gas to Ukraine – not Russia, it is impossible to do – and the September decision to approve the European Commission a mandate to negotiate with Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan on the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline. At the same time the European Commission identified the Trans-Caspian Gas Pipeline most important part of the European project "Southern Corridor" on the transit of Caspian and Central Asian gas to Europe.

Apart from offering a more active stand up to Russia on the construction of the pipeline "South Stream", Turkmenistan expressed interest to Ukraine for this purpose provided the public pressure on the European Union. These two important issues for both Ukraine and Turkmenistan discussed for Yanukovych and Berdymukhamedov. All other issues of cooperation were secondary.

Activity of Turkmenistan as a whole is clear. For now attitude to the Russian "South Stream" is not an ultimatum or a hard character, but rather a mild criticism of the intentions of "Gazprom". Indeed, Yanukovych has not lost hope that Ukraine and Russia fail to agree on a gas transport consortium, and a significant reduction in gas prices from the current $ 420 per 1,000 cubic meters. m However, in recent negotiations reached an impasse and has long passed the stage of waiting.

Against this background, Ashkhabad hopes that Ukraine has already ripe for a more critical, demanding, and tough position regarding the "South Stream". Given that Russia seeks to obtain from the EU as a political and financial support to the "South Stream", Ukrainian "sand in the wheels" may actually interfere with Russia’s plans to find common ground with the EU.

The first bells have sounded when the Energy Minister of Ukraine Yuri Boyko wrote an angry letter to the head of the secretariat of the European energy community Slavcho Neykovu : "Despite the desire of Ukraine to create appropriate conditions for the energy security of Europe, unfortunately, today we see the actions of the EU and Energosoobschestva aimed at promoting the project "South Stream" active harmonization of its parameters, in particular, Slovenia. "

Geopolitical "trick" of Turkmenistan lies in the fact that Ashgabat critical interest to the EU has supported the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline, which plans to pave over the Caspian Sea between Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. In the future Trans-Caspian gas pipeline to connect to one of the routes of Caspian gas to the EU – Nabucco, Transanatoliysky pipeline, Trans Adriatic Pipeline, or ITGI (Turkey-Greece-Italy interconnector). And all of these routes in competition with the Russian "South Stream".

A very important point is that the construction of the Trans-Caspian gas pipeline to help Turkmenistan to get rid of the growing dependence on China. Over the past five years, Beijing has become the largest partner and the largest creditor in Ashgabat gas issues. The amount of Chinese loans to Turkmenistan has already exceeded $ 8 billion

What benefits can get Ukraine, if together with Turkmenistan would "put pressure" on the EU on the issue of "South Stream"? This may force the "Gazprom" to make concessions on the issue of transit of Turkmen gas through Russia. But here we must understand that even the possibility of a phantom of Turkmen gas supplies will not help Ukraine reduce the price or twice, or even 30 percent.

Today, the price of gas, according to which Turkmenistan sells its gas to Russia is a market, is calculated by the formula, and is about 350 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. m This is also still need to add the cost of transporting gas. Thus, Ukraine will save a maximum of 10-15 per cent of the price of 420 dollars more to be understood that Turkmenistan would not be able to provide large volumes of gas supplies, as all the volumes are bought in Iran, China and Russia. The maximum that can count on Ukraine – it is up to 5 billion cubic meters. meters of gas annually.

Given all these facts, Turkmenistan, Ukraine is now interested in the first place not as a gas, as well as a trading partner. The era of cheap gas has passed $ 50. And of Turkmen gas as a "lifeline" should be quickly forgotten. Statements as to supply Turkmen gas, which relies Energy Minister Yuriy Boiko, nothing like the muscles before a game "Gazprom" in the context of gas negotiations between Ukraine and Russia.

For this reason the President of Ukraine Yanukovich present a proper understanding of what you need to rely on the implementation of construction projects, the participation of Ukrainian companies in the development of gas fields, an increase of commodity turnover between Ukraine and Turkmenistan. But in any case, Yanukovych is also aware of the fact that his geopolitical "pen test" in the direction of the game in Ukraine and Turkmenistan over the "South Stream," Trans-Caspian pipeline, the hypothetical receiving Turkmen gas through Russia – a geopolitical "Russian Roulette", which does not guarantee the sound of coins in his pocket, and the smell of gas in the tube of Ukraine.

About the Author: Yuri Korolchuk – expert of the Ukrainian Institute for Energy Studies.

Source :: The Independent Newspaper

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