Search

 

Cablegate: Ukraine: March 5 Update On Gas Developments

VZCZCXYZ6612
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKV #0483/01 0650948
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 050948Z MAR 08
FM AMEMBASSY KYIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5123
INFO RUCNCIS/CIS COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEHZG/NATO EU COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC PRIORITY
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY

UNCLAS KYIV 000483

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

DEPT FOR EUR/UMB, EB/ESC/IEC - GALLOGLY/WRIGHT
DOE PLEASE PASS TO LEKIMOFF, CCALIENDO
USDOC FOR 4321/IEP/OEENIS/NISD/CLUCYK

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EPET ECON ENRG PREL UP
SUBJECT: UKRAINE: MARCH 5 UPDATE ON GAS DEVELOPMENTS

REF: A. KYIV 471

B. KYIV 469
C. MOSCOW 605

Sensitive but Unclassified. Not for Internet.

1. (SBU) Summary. A day after Gazprom reduced gas supplies
to Ukraine by 35%, Gazprom tacked on an additional 25%
reduction at 19:00 Kyiv time on March 4. Before reductions
began, Ukraine's state gas and oil company, NaftoHaz,
received 152.7 million cubic meters (mcm) of gas per day, but
now receives about 69 mcm, representing an overall gas
reduction of about 54% in two days. Towns and regions in
Southern Ukraine have already reported some cut-offs in gas,
although these may be coincidental actions for previous
non-payment, rather than a direct result of the Russian
supply reductions. Gazprom officials pointed to NaftoHaz's
unwillingness to send a delegation to Moscow to resume
negotiations as evidence that Ukraine was balking on
commitments made by President Yushchenko during his February
12 meetings with Putin. Gazprom officials have not ruled out
future reductions, should the Ukrainians fail to resume
negotiations. Although PM Tymoshenko announced Ukraine would
adhere to its supply commitments to Europe, Gazprom claimed
that Ukraine had informed it of a 60 mcm cut in gas transit
to Europe. There has been no confirmation of this from the
Ukrainian side, although NaftoHaz officials stated that
supplies to Europe could not be guaranteed if Ukraine's
energy security comes under threat--rhetoric that Ukraine has
avoided in past gas disputes. End summary.

2. (SBU) Shortly after the latest reduction plans were made
public, Ukrainian concerns that the general population might
be affected heightened. Former Minister of Utilities and the
Housing Economy Alexander Popov claimed that should gas
reductions continue, those populations with a long history of
non payment would most likely be the first affected by the
gas reductions. Following this logic, Popov suggested that
those affected by cut-offs first would probably be mostly
located in southern Ukraine. The next day, some gas cut-offs
were reported in Luhansk, Kirovohrad, and Sevastopol regions,
located in southern Ukraine. Officials in Luhansk and
Kirovohrad were quick to attribute the cut-offs to high rates
of non-payment for gas and not to the on-going dispute. The
Ukrainian press agency UNIAN reported that kindergartens,
schools, clinics, and maternity hospitals were affected in
Kirovohrad, prompting a request from Tymoshenko for a
criminal investigation concerning who ordered the cut-offs.
Kirovohrad's regional gas utility is reportedly controlled by
RUE part-owner Dmytro Firtash and former Minister of Energy
Yuriy Boyko. Sevastopol officials explained that reductions
of gas in the overall gas system have traditionally resulted
in shortages for their region, which lies at the end of the
pipeline. They stated to the press that heat supplies to
consumers would go interrupted, but Sevastopol residents
might be left without hot water for some time. (Comment: We
have no evidence that NaftoHaz is actually reacting to the
supply reductions of the past two days by cutting supplies to
municipalities. Instead, we suspect that local officials,
spurred by recent reports that Ukraine had enough gas to
maintain current supplies for about two weeks, may be
preparing for the worst case scenario. End comment.)

3. (SBU) After the latest gas reduction on March 4, President
Yushchenko called Russian President-Elect Dmitry Medvedev to
congratulate him on his election victory. Medvedev urged
Ukraine to honor its obligations from Putin-Yushchenko
summit. President Yushchenko, who has been calling for the
Tymoshenko-led government to resolve the gas stalemate as
soon as possible, penned a letter to Prime Minister
Tymoshenko demanding that she immediately give directives to
NaftoHaz resulting in the continuation of talks with Gazprom.
(Note: Tymoshenko has opposed the portion of the draft gas
arrangement which would give Gazprom 50% control of the
Ukrainian gas market, a prize Gazprom has sought for years,
according to Ukrainian energy experts. End note.)
Tymoshenko did not directly respond to Yushchenko's demands,
but announced that the Cabinet of Ministers would adopt a
resolution on gas repayment for 2008 arrears, similar to a
resolution passed on the payment of debts for
September-December 2007. The resolution was to allow for
NaftoHaz to make payments for January and February, even
though the two sides have not yet agreed on what amounts of
gas was supplied.

4. (U) Tymoshenko pledged on March 4 that gas supplies to
Europe would be maintained without change. However, a
NaftoHaz source told the press that the company reserved the
right to make appropriate and symmetrical reductions in gas
transit, should the energy security of Ukraine be threatened.
At mid-day March 5, Gazprom issued a statement that they had
been informed by NaftoHaz of a reduction of 60 mcm in gas
exports to Europe. So far, post has been unable to confirm
or deny this report from Ukrainian sources.

5. (SBU) Comment. By authorizing payment of the 2008 debt,
Kyiv has made some steps towards accommodating Gazprom, but
we will have to see if this leads to any softening of
Gazprom's attitude. So far, NaftoHaz has stood its ground
and has not dispatched anyone to Moscow to continue talks.
If more reductions are made by Gazprom, it is possible that
Ukrainians could see the effects of shortages sooner than
anyone had expected.
Taylor

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 
 
  • Pacific.Scoop
  • Cafe Pacific
  • PMC