Gazprom: It might take 4-8 years to free Russian gas pipelines from the 3rd Energy package

The process of releasing the South Stream gas pipeline and Nord Stream-3 from the requirements of the Third Energy Package of EU might take 4-8 years, the deputy CEO of Gazprom export (affiliate of Gazprom specializing in exports), A. Golubnichiy, said in the interview to Russia Today TV channel.
He said that the construction of the Nord Stream-3 was caused by the demand from the market.
Such are the requirements of the market and the Russian Government wants the same. The only problem we see here is that the exceptions of the Third Energy Package concern only the 2 already laid branches of the gas pipeline. The third branch, if we decideits to be constructed, will be subject to the restrictions set by the Third Energy Package. It means that 50% of the throughput capacity of a new gas pipeline will be given to a third party. The company is not clear as yet as the entire gas volume comes from Russia, he said.
Mr. Golubnichiy said that Gazprom has an opportunity to apply for releasing from the requirements of the Third Energy Package.
We have a legal opportunity to do it. The Energy Commissioner of EU, G. Ettinger, said that the European Commission is ready to consider the possibility of releasing the South Stream from these requirements. The only problem is the process of being granted such a preference which will take 4-8 years, and it is too long for the South Stream, he said.
The so-called Third Energy Package approved by EU in 2009 aims for liberalization of the EU electric energy and gas market. It comprises 6 legislative acts presupposing the restrictions for the vertically integrated companies for the right to own and manage the energy transport networks. So the European Commission is trying to separate the business for sale and gas transportation. According to the European Commission, it will increase the competition, will allow the new participants join the market and will reduce the prices for the energy. Experts think that the European Commission is trying to control the market and make Gazprom turn from the contract scheme of gas supplies to the spot scheme.
The Government of Russia has many times said that the Third Energy Package contradicts the basic documents on the cooperation between Russia and EU and its realization might lead to the price rise in the European energy market as new intermediaries will appear in the market. Moscow says that the decision on the Third Energy Package was made by EU unilaterally and was enforced by the back effect.
Nord Stream with the length of 1.2 thousand km already supplies the Russian gas to Germany. The first branch of the gas pipeline, connecting Russia and Germany on the bottom of the Baltic Sea, with the capacity of 27.5 bln cubic meters a year was launched on November 8th 2011. The launch of the 2nd branch is planned for October 2012.
The shareholders of the project’s operator- Nord Stream AG - are Gazprom (51%), Wintershall Holding and E.ON Ruhrgas (15.5% each), GDF Suez and Gasunie (9% each).
The South Stream project is being realized aiming for the diversification of natural gas supply routes to the European consumers. In Q3 2011 the development of the technical and economic assessment of South Stream was over, that united the technical and economic assessment of the offshore part and the technical and economic assessment of the sites going on the territory of the Southern and Central Europe. Gazprom has prepared a new schedule of construction of the gas pipeline which will start in December 2012. The gas pipeline is supposed to consist of 4 branches – 15.57 bln cubic meters each. The launch of the first one is planned for December 2015, reaching the full capacity (63 bln cubic meters) – in 2018. The approximate cost of South Stream is €15.5 bln, €10 bln of which – for the offshore part, €5.5 bln – for the land part.
The shareholders of the company-operator of the sea part of the South Stream - South Stream Transport AG - are Gazprom (50%), Eni (20%), Wintershall and EdF – 15% each.
Translated by Galiya Musabekova 

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