Russian oil giant Gazprom said that the EU was not needed as a mediator in Russia’s gas dispute with Ukraine and it played down the block’s decision to ease access to the Opal gas pipeline, which is detrimental in Russia’s plans to boost its supplies via the Baltic Sea. Last week, Brussels enabled Russia to expand its Nord Stream capacity and bypass Ukraine as a transit route by lifting a cap on Gazprom’s use of the Opal pipeline in Germany.
However, the decision was not readily embraced by Gazprom, whose CEO, Alexander Medvedev, said that the company would still have to analyze the next steps. “Unfortunately, the European Commission has made changes to our agreement … unilaterally. That’s why, before saying that the problem is solved, it should be analyzed,” Mr Medvedev commented. Gazprom’s CEO also said that the EU’s involvement in brokering gas deals between Kiev and Moscow was not necessary although the European Commission was successfully involved in such talks in the past. “Interference or help from someone else is not necessary. It’s enough for them to make a pre-payment and the gas will flow,” Mr Medvedev said.
Gazprom has been allowed to use only about a half of the capacity of the Opal pipeline since 2011 following an EU directive, as Brussels sought to prevent Russia from dominating the supply side of the market. The Russian company is also planning to market more gas in Turkey and southern Europe through the Black Sea as well as construct two new Turkish Stream pipelines. One of the lines would supply Turkey, while the other would target other markets, such as Greece.