Slovakia is ready to boost deliveries of EU gas to Ukraine, Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico said on February 6.
The volume of gas deliveries will be increased to 14.5bn cubic metres per year from current 11.5bn, Fico told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko during a meeting in Kyiv. As a result, Slovakia will ensure one third of Ukraine’s domestic consumption.
Slovak gas transmission company Eustream already announced last month it will offer additional capacity of 8.5mn cubic metres per day on the reversed pipeline transporting EU gas to Ukraine, which became operational in September last year.
During talks with Poroshenko, Fico stressed that both Slovakia and Ukraine should preserve their status of gas transit countries. According to the Slovak PM, the Central European country would lose hundreds of millions of euros in fees if it were to be bypassed as a gas transit country, TASR news agency reported.
"Sure, the internal market of the European Union is able to secure enough gas for Slovakia, but there are not only interests of the European Union but also national interests of countries involved," Fico said.
Following the cancellation of Russia’s South Stream pipeline, Eustream - utlimately controlled by closely-held Slovak financial group J&T via Czech-based energy holding EPH – has already started talks on a new pipeline to link CEE gas markets. The proposed Eastring pipeline, aimed at reducing the Balkans' dependence on Russian supplies, would offer a route connecting the region to Western European gas hubs and would also be able to transport gas from Russia into Central Europe.
Russia has announced that it now plans to divert gas exports away from Ukraine and via Turkey. South Stream would have diverted gas from Ukrainian transit to Bulgaria and on to Hungary. Both routes would see Slovakia lose its role as a major transporter of Russian gas to wider EU markets.
Hungary has also announced it wants to establish a project to collect gas from Russia's proposed Turk Stream pipeline and ship it to Central Europe. Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in January Hungary has already kicked off talks with Greece, Macedonia and Serbia over a potential route to carry some of the gas that Moscow wants to deliver to a gas hub on the Turkish-Greek border.
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