Ukraine will continue to seek broader U.S. participation in its efforts to halt the construction of the remaining segments of the Russian submarine Nord Stream 2 pipeline for export to Germany, as well as any operation of this pipeline to the future, according to the country’s highest government. officials.
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Nord Stream 2 is “of the utmost importance and a very sensitive issue for Ukraine,” President Vladimir Zelensky said Thursday in joint remarks to the press after a meeting with visiting US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken in Kiev Thursday.
Zelensky said the issue was raised both in his own talks with Blinken and in talks between the US Secretary of State and Ukrainian Cabinet Chairman Denis Shmygal.
Shmygal called for the approval of a “long-term mechanism to ensure that Nord Stream 2 is never built or exploited as an energy weapon” against Ukraine and European nations.
With an annual flow capacity of around 146 billion cubic meters of gas, Ukraine’s pipeline network is expected to transport around 40 billion cubic meters of Russian gas to Europe this year.
For the past 20 years, Russia has approved the expansive plans of the state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom to build new submarine pipelines that would take Ukraine out of the transit deal and deprive it of its revenue.
Two of these pipelines, Nord Stream and TurkStream, are already in operation, with an annual capacity of nearly 90 Gm3 of gas.
At the same time, Nord Stream 2 will add an additional 55 billion cubic meters of annual capacity for Gazprom, the three pipelines providing the gas giant with excessive export capacity to Europe.
On the eve of Blinken’s visit to Kiev, the chief engineer of the owner of the Ukrainian state gas pipeline, operator GTS Ukrainy, told the Kiev-based Den newspaper that Russia plans to shut down the gas transit flow through Ukraine after the start-up of Nord Stream 2. and the decommissioning of existing pumping stations along large sections of the country’s pipeline network.
To date, half of the capacity of the gas pipeline network is already unused due to reduced gas transit flows, said chief engineer Yuri Zyabchenko.
He claimed that sites housing unused pumping stations could be upgraded with the installation of gas generators to provide electricity to regional customers, taking advantage of existing high-speed connections to infrastructure and gas supply. .
Although the current gas transit contract with Gazprom expires at the end of 2024, operator GTS Ukrainy is already working on the modernization of pipeline pumping stations in the west of the country to handle larger volumes of imports of gas from Europe, according to Zyabchenko.