If Russia decides to cut off gas supplies to Ukraine over recent disputes and outstanding debts, Ukraine might have to import gas from the West, meaning its neighbour Slovakia could rake in tens of millions of euros in transmission fees.
Gas is one of the crunch points of the fragile relations at present between the EU and Russia, but with the EU itself importing around one third of all its supplies from Russia, there might not be enough to go around.
The reverse flow option that has been available for the past few years means gas can be pumped from the west to the east, would allow Ukraine to receive gas from the west. The reverse flow option may prove crucial for Slovakia also, should the supply of Russian gas via Ukraine be disrupted.
Russian gas giant Gazprom also announced today that it would most likely be hiking up the fees for gas supplies. Slovak transmission system operator Eustream is in talk with Ukrainian operator Ukrtransgaz, with an agreement expected in the coming weeks, according to daily Hospodarske Noviny, citing EU Commissioner for Energy, Gunther Oettinger.
The capacity of Slovakia’s gas transmission lines would allow it to supply Ukraine with around 10 billion cubic metres of natural gas a year, which is only about one third of Ukraine’s import dependence.