”The objective of talks is to find consensus on a new winter package, which would be similar in terms of its content to those that we had in 2014 and 2015, to ensure that this winter Gazprom is able to sell gas, while the Ukrainian side – to buy it. We hope that as the outcome of tomorrow`s debate (I use the word ”hope” because we know that the Russian side will not be represented by Alexei Miller [Gazprom CEO]) the Russian side will be ready to sign off an annex to the contract, to provide technical opportunities for both parties to sell and buy. If the annex is not signed, this process will simply be impossible,” said the Naftogaz CEO.
At the same time, Kobolev stressed that the negotiations were initiated by the European Commission, which informed the Ukrainian side that Russia was ready to a signing.
”We hope that they (EC) assess realistically the chances of signing. Although, once again, we are not so sure, because we were not holding these negotiations,” he said.
According to the head of Naftogaz, the Ukrainian side expects that Gazprom would put forward its price offer that will allow to decide ”what volumes and when we can buy.”
”We cannot call any figures now,” Kobolev responded to the question on the possible price for Russian gas.
He also noted that the Ukrainian side ”is always ready to buy from Gazprom” in the event that they match regular gas trade rules in Europe.”
”It has always been our position. We all of our contracts to be valid and we want to be able to buy gas from the largest possible number of parties, including Gazprom,” said the head of Naftogaz.
Answering the question of an UNIAN correspondent on where Ukraine will get its gas in severe winter if the annex is not signed, Kobolev said: ”Winter is already severe, and we are already buying gas that we need from the European side. We just do not want to exclude the possibility of having yet another supplier.”
According to the Naftogaz CEO, when there is a need to meet ”peak demand”, natural gas from underground storage facilities is used. ”Right now, the volume is at 13,2 billion cubic meters. This level allows us to say that we have enough gas until the end of this winter,” he said.
In addition, within the framework of a bilateral meeting with the European Commission, Ukraine is planning to discuss ”the opening of a virtual reverse flow from Europe to Ukraine, which we believe is even more important than the signing of the winter package.”
”From a technical point of view, it will allow us to purchase any gas volumes, not being limited to only a physical flow. Now Ukraine imports from the EU approximately 55 million cubic meters of gas per day, but it is only the total amount of a physical flow. What we need is to get access to the virtual stream, allowing us to make up to 200-250 million cubic meters a day, if we need such volumes,” said Kobolev.
Also, according to him, Kyiv is ready to reaffirm that it is a reliable transit partner and that it will maintain a stable gas transit to the EU.
”We also want to discuss with the European Commission the recent decision on the OPAL pipeline, which came as a big surprise to us. We have sent a letter to the German regulator that we would like to be a party to this plan`s discussion. That`s because we believe that this decision will have a major impact not only on the Ukrainian gas market, but also on the gas market in Central and Eastern Europe, in countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary,” Mr Kobolev said.
See also: No peace deal with Gazprom to come in Stockholm arbitration – Naftogaz CEO