Problems present and future of natural gas in the European market

Problems present and future of natural gas in the European market

By D.Rozanov

Europe and Germany will have a high demand for imported natural gas in the medium term. Therefore, maintaining the stability and reliable energy partnership with Russia for decades is of great importance for the German economy. At the same time, the question of how to take into account the interests of third countries also plays a role. A constant exchange of views with colleagues is an important condition for finding solutions.

One of the main projects for which there are differences not only between Merkel and Trump, but also within the European Union, is Nord Stream-2, which provides for the direct supply of Russian natural gas to Germany. In this regard, disagreements are not only in terms of transatlantic, but also pan-European cooperation within the EU. Positive position of German, and several other European companies on this project is not in doubt: the second branch of the "Nord Stream" is necessary for Europe, and these supplies will turn Germany into the most important European gas hub.

Among the problems discussed today are the present and future of natural gas in the European market, the problems of reliability of demand and supply of natural gas, the benefits of natural gas in the new energy sector, taking into account the Paris Agreement. These topics demonstrate a wide range of topics discussed. The importance of gas as a component of Europe's transition to the primary use of renewable energy sources (RES) is beginning to play an increasingly important role and, moreover, gas can in the future become a leading part of this transition.

Great attention is paid to problems with the Nord Stream-2. As you know, builders of this gas pipeline on the bottom of the Baltic Sea receive all the necessary permits for its construction. Now only from Sweden are waiting for permission to lay the gas pipeline in the corresponding economic zone. Even Denmark, which initially opposed the laying of the gas pipeline in its economic zone, admitted that its veto could slow the laying of the gas pipeline, but not stop it. In this case, it is possible to change the route of the gasket.

According to some experts, linking the implementation of this project with the demand put forward by Chancellor Angela Merkel regarding the preservation of Ukrainian gas transit deserves attention. As is known, Gazprom unilaterally terminated the agreement on the pumping of Russian gas to Europe through the Ukrainian gas transportation system (GTS), which should operate until 2019. It's about signing a new contract. But, according to Moscow, the volume of future transit through Ukraine will depend on the economic attractiveness of the conditions that Ukraine will offer. The design capacity of the Nord Stream-2 gas pipeline is 55 billion cubic meters. m per year, and last year more than 90 billion cubic meters were pumped through the Ukrainian route. m. According to expert estimates, by 2020 Europe may need an additional 50 billion cubic meters. m of gas, and by 2030 - 80 billion cubic meters. Therefore, with the expected growing demand for gas in Europe without the Ukrainian gas transportation system, Gazprom can not do without. However, if necessary, Gazprom will be ready to build the next branches of the pipeline along the bottom of the Baltic Sea.

But, perhaps, the most acute problem of this project remains the issue of its financing. According to the head of the project participant Austrian company OMV Rainer Seele, American sanctions make financing of such large projects as "Nord Stream-2", almost impossible. " Therefore, the financing of this project worth almost 10 billion euros, Selele believed, should be reviewed. On the same topic, Antonio Fallicio, chairman of the Italian banking association Intesa. In his opinion, provided that if the project is not financed by sanctions, the bank could finance those parts of this project that are not affected by US sanctions. But the decision on this issue of the European Commission is still unknown, and the bank prefers to wait for it.

The European Commission does not support the Nord Stream-2 project. However, there is no question of sanctions, the head of the EC Directorate of Energy Dominique Ristori stated recently in Kiev.

"Our position is clear: we believe that Nord Stream 2 is not conducive to diversification of sources and routes of gas supplies," he explained. "If Nord Stream 2 is to be built, its work will violate the principles of transparency, non-discrimination and free access of European consumers to energy sources," Ristori added.

In addition, Ristori noted that the EC plans to help Ukraine in negotiations with Russia on the preservation of gas transit because of the importance of this route. According to him, if for Ukraine the transit of gas is of economic importance, Europe wants to preserve alternative ways of transporting fuel.

However, Gazprom does not yet have clear answers to the question regarding the existing problems with the financing of the Nord Stream-2 project. Among the participants of the project (which include Gazprom, firms from Germany, Holland, Britain, Austria, Finland, France and a number of other countries that have received construction contracts), there are various financing options for different cases. Apparently, Gazprom does not have a reliable financing plan if additional or expanding existing sanctions are imposed, and then all finance ation of the project he will have to take over. As is known, recently Gazprom managed to place Eurobonds for 750 million euros at 2.5% per annum for a period of eight years.



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