Ukraine will pump Russian transit gas to its underground storage facilities starting from January 1, 2020 if this gas is transited without a corresponding contract between the two countries, executive director Ukraine’s oil and gas company Naftogaz, Yuri Vitrenko, told TASS on Monday.
"All the gas that will enter Ukraine without corresponding documents will be pumped to underground storage facilities as ‘gas from an unidentified owner,’ as long as we have no documents for it," he wrote on his Facebook account in reply to a TASS question about possible developments in case gas transit via Ukraine continues after January 1, 2020 when the current contract expires and the country’s fail to extend it.
Vitrenko told Ukrainian television earlier that in case Russian gas transit continued in 2020 without a corresponding agreement the Ukrainian would consider such gas as contraband.
The current contracts on gas supplies to and transit via Ukraine expire on December 31. By that date, Russia plans to commission two gas pipelines bypassing the Ukrainian territory - Nord Strem-2 and Turk Stream. Ukraine, in turn, has commitments to introduce the European energy laws by the yearend.
Russia is ready to conclude a gas transit contract under the European rules in case Ukraine manages to complete all the relevant procedures. As a fallback option, the Russian side suggests the current contract be extended for 2020. Apart from that, Russia is ready to resume gas supplies to Ukraine, which stopped in 2015, at a price reduced by 25%
The dialogue is being complicated by the legal wrangling between Gazprom and Naftogaz. Moscow insists on the so-called "package solution" when the parties are to drop mutual claims and the $6.5 billion fine on Gazprom is canceled but Naftogaz says it would not abandon its suits against Gazprom.