Gas Exports Interrupted After Kyiv Shuts Down a Major Route

gas exports
Image: Frantzou Fleurine/Unsplash

A quarter of Russian gas flow to Europe was cut on Wednesday, Reuters reports. The pipeline traveling through Ukraine was disrupted as Kyiv had to stop the use of an important route, preventing gas exports from Ukraine for the first time since the invasion. This interference by Russian troops caused Europe’s standard gas prices to rise to 100 euros per megawatt-hour, before returning back to their original level which is 250% higher than a year ago.

The key transit point that Ukraine closed, Sokhranovka, handles about 8% of the Russian gas flow to Europe. While European states reported that they were still receiving gas, the passage sends most of the Russian gas to east European states like Austria, Italy, and Slovakia.

The operators of Ukraine’s gas system, GTSOU, said that they were invoking “force majeure” which allows parties to be freed of their obligations given any extreme circumstances. On Tuesday GTSOU announced that they’d be stopping gas flow through the transit point that delivered around a third of the fuel that travels from Russia to Europe through Ukraine. Russian gas company Gazprom, controlled by the Kremlin, has a monopoly on Russian gas exports through pipelines and was still shipping gas to Europe through Ukraine at roughly 20 mcm less.

While not supported with evidence, the CEO of GTSOU said that Russian forces took gas and began to send it to the separatist regions of eastern Ukraine. A spokesperson for the Kremlin, Dimitry Peskov, said that Russia was remaining committed to gas exports deals and Gazprom reported no proof of interference preventing them to meet gas demands.

There is a dispute between GTSOU and Gazprom on whether or not it is possible to transfer all of the gas to a different route through Sudha. GTSOU argues that its high volumes had been successfully diverted in October 2020 due to the maintenance of the Sokhranovka line.

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