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Ukrainian Gas System Unlikely to Find U.S., EU Investors

Published: July 5, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • If the South Stream pipeline project is completed, then by 2015 Ukrainian pipelines will no longer be needed for Russian gas exports.
    Photo: Gazprom

Ukraine's move Friday toward attempting to sell nearly 50 percent in its gas pipeline system to EU and U.S. investors does not mean that Western buyers will rush to take up the offer, as the system's value depends on a steady supply of Russian gas, energy analysts told The St. Petersburg Times.

Amid the current standoff with Russia over unpaid bills for gas imports, Ukraine's parliament passed a bill in its first reading Friday that envisages the creation of a Ukrainian gas transportation operator of which European and U.S. investors could own up to 49 percent.

The move appeared to be Ukraine's attempt to retain control of the revenues that transporting Russian gas to Europe brings, just as Russian state energy giant Gazprom moves towards construction of the planned South Stream pipeline, which will bypass Ukraine on its way to Europe.

Russia supplies about a third of Europe's total gas requirements via pipelines running through Ukrainian territory, and has coveted control of the transport system for the last two decades. Kiev has rejected attempts by Russia — Ukraine's main gas supplier — to take control of the transport system amid a series of acrimonious gas wars that have seen Russia's Gazprom turn off shipments to Ukraine several times in the past few years over unpaid bills.

Battling South Stream

The bill excludes Russia from ownership in the system by only accepting as shareholders companies owned and controlled by residents of the EU, U.S. or European Energy Community, of which Ukraine is a member but Russia is not. The company must also belong to the European Network of Transmission System Operators of Gas. The same conditions apply for operators of Ukraine's subterranean natural gas storage facilities.

Ukraine's Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk told parliament Friday that the energy situation in Ukraine is "critical" and "part of a war that Russia has rolled out against Ukraine."

"Russia is trying to tighten as many screws as possible on us," he said, according to the Ukrainian government's website.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of today’s seminar is “Grammar Practice.”


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at “Professional Growth,” a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmCham’s Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBA’s ongoing “Breakfast with the Director” series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at “Sounds of the Universe,” a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the club’s website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit “Neophobia” at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBA’s Marketing and Communications Committee’s round table discussion on “Government Relations Practices in Russia” this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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