RIA Novosti: Europe Ready to Consider Opal Pipeline For Future Gas Supplies – Gazprom
MOSCOW, June 16 (RIA Novosti) – If Ukraine disrupts Russian gas transit via its territory, the European Commission is ready to negotiate increased deliveries through the Opal pipeline, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said Monday.
“We have discussed this issue with the European Commission. It is now as follows: if we record problems with transit via the territory of Ukraine, then the issue of the Opal pipeline will be raised and it will be solved,” Miller said.
The Opal pipeline connects the Nord Stream pipeline with Europe’s gas transportation network. Gazprom was unable to run Nord Stream at full capacity because Europe restricted the volumes of gas permitted for delivery via Opal, under the terms of the so-called EU’s Third Energy Package, which stipulates that the companies involved in gas production cannot be the owners of the long distance pipelines located in the region.
The uninterrupted flow of Russian gas to Europe has recently been put into question by the political crisis in Ukraine and its ballooning gas debt to Russia. The Nord Stream gas pipeline, completed in 2012, is one of the guarantees of reliable Russian gas delivery to Europe, but the transport network requires Opal pipeline to work at full capacity.