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Paper looks into possibility of Russia's leasing Ukrainian gas transport system

Will Ukraine give up its gas transport system, or lose it?

In recent days, the leadership of Russia and Gazprom once again offered to lease the gas transport system (GTS) of Ukraine. Theoretically, this may help to overcome the syndrome of the "gas wars" between the countries. However, there are a series of obstacles to such a step -- legal, psychological and specifically political. Nevertheless, the situation with transit of gas is dragging on, the heating season in Ukraine is still not over, so that all this will surely intensify the "degree" of the bargaining between the parties. So ultimately, will the leadership of Ukraine decide to sell or lease the country's gas transport system in exchange for concluding an agreement on gas deliveries, and why?


Konstantin Simonov, director of the Fund for National Energy Security (Moscow):

This is very difficult to predict, because, for many years, Ukraine had said that the GTS is the national wealth of the country, but in the current situation everything changes somewhat. Today, the idea of a gas transport consortium is being developed. I think that, there, the top roles will belong to European companies. The European Union may assume a very harsh position in this situation, and already demand the transfer of at least part of this system in the form of an ultimatum, because there simply is no other way out of this situation but to hand over the GTS to European companies. Otherwise, in fact, gas transit will, as before, greatly depend on the political situation in Ukraine.

Of course, they will not give everything to Russia, but the idea of inclusion of Russian companies in the shareholding capital of the Ukrainian GTS is an entirely logical solution.

Source:  BBC Monitoring Ukraine & Baltics - January 23, 2009

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