Second Baltic pipeline will cost Ukraine $2bn a year: PM
Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Thursday blasted a planned second gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, claiming it would cost his country $2 billion (1.8 billion euros) a year in lost revenue.
Yatsenyuk said the Nord Stream-2 deal between Russia's Gazprom, Anglo-Dutch Shell, Germany's E.ON and Austria's OMV would also impact the budgets of neighbouring Poland and Slovakia by undermining their roles as transit states for existing Russian gas pipelines.
"The fact is that if Russia and some Western companies will complete Nord Stream-2, this will deprive Ukraine of two billion dollars in revenue" annually, he said, speaking at a joint press conference with his Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian counterparts.
"This will deprive Slovakia of 0.8 billion dollars in revenue, Poland of 0.3 billion dollars in revenue and this will even deprive the EU of real energy independence," he added.
"We ask the European Commission... to seriously get into this issue so Russia is not allowed to facilitate a bottleneck and control the energy market of the European Union," he said, terming the project as "more political than economic."
Yatsenuk's concerns were echoed by his Baltic colleagues, in particular Estonian Prime Minister Taavi Roivas who questioned whether the planned pipeline was compliance with EU rules.
"I trust the (European) Commission to very seriously look into this matter," he said.
In June, Gazprom agreed with its western European partners to build the new gas pipeline -- dubbed Nord Stream-2 -- to Germany, bypassing conflict-torn Ukraine but also EU neighbour Poland.
The route under the Baltic Sea from Russia would have a capacity of 55 billion cubic metres per year and would double the flow of the existing Nord Stream pipeline currently linking the two countries.
No timeframe was given for the deal that will boost Germany as a distribution hub for Russian gas in Western Europe.
Russia and the West are locked in a bitter standoff over the Kremlin's role in Ukraine and a gas dispute between Kiev and Moscow has threatened energy supplies to the EU.
© 2015 AFP