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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, Jan. 28



Feel like becoming a publishing mogul? Stop by the Freedom anti-cafe at 7 Ulitsa Kazanskaya today at 8 p.m. where Simferopol, Crimea-based founder and chief editor of the Holst online magazine will talk about creating an internet magaine, including what stories to cover, how find an audience and build a team, where to find inspiration and how to stand out from the crowd. Admission is the normal price of the anti-café — 2 rubles per minute, which includes tea and snacks.



Learn everything you always wanted to know about wine, and perhaps a bit more, at the Le Nez du Vin seminar for wine lovers. Held at the WineJet Sommelier School, 100 Bolshoy Prospekt Petrograd Side, at 7:30 p.m., the event will cover wine production, the basics of wine tasting, the concept of terroir and the various countries where wine is produced. Tickets are 750 rubles and include a wine tasting. Register by calling +7 921 744 6264.



Thursday, Jan. 29



Attend a master class on how to deal with complicated business negotiations today at the International Banking Institute, 6 Malaya Sadovaya Ulitsa. Running from 3 to 6 p.m., Vadim Sokolov, an assistant professor at the St. Petersburg State University of Economics, will introduce aspects of managing the negotiation process and increasing its effectiveness. Attendance is free with pre-registration by telephone on 909 3056 or online at www.ibispb.ru



Celebrate what would be writer Anton Chekhov's 155th birthday at the Bokvoed bookshop at 46 Nevsky Prospekt. Starting at 5 p.m., the legendary author will be feted with readings of his stories and short performances based on his plays by various St. Petersburg actors. Chekhov's books will also be offered at a 15% discount during the event.



Friday, Jan. 30



The Lermontov Central Library, 19 Liteyny Prospekt, will screen 'Almost Famous’ in English with Russian subtitles at 6:30 p.m. Cameron Crowe's Academy Award-winning comedy from 2000 stars Billy Crudup, Kate Hudson, and Patrick Fugit, and tells the story of a budding music journalist at Rolling Stone magazine in the 1970s. Admission is free.



Meet renowned Russian poet, journalist and writer Dmitry Bykov, famous for his biographies of Boris Pasternak, Bulat Okudzhava and Maxim Gorky, and winner of 2006 National Bestseller Award. Bykov will read old and new poems as well as answer questions about his works at the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, Main Hall, at 7 p.m. Tickets start at 1,000 rubles and are available at city ticket offices and the from the Philharmonic website www.philharmonia.spb.ru.



A retrospective of the films of Roman Polanski starts today at Loft-Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt, with a screening of ‘Repulsion’ at 7 p.m. and ‘Rosemary’s Baby’ at 9:15 p.m. The series runs through Feb. 4 and will include Polanski's eminently creepy ‘The Tenant,’ the cult comedy ‘The Fearless Vampire Killers’ and ‘Cul-de-sac’ among others. Tickets are 150-200 rubles and the complete schedule is available at www.vk.com/artpokaz/



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