Friday, September 17

Russia to consider Rosneft’s access to Nord Stream 2


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MOSCOW — Russia’s energy ministry is due to prepare a report in the coming days on the possibility of Rosneft exporting gas to Europe via the new Nord Stream 2 pipeline, Interfax cited Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Wednesday.

Separately, the Kremlin said the quick start of gas sales thorough the route, subject to approval from Germany’s regulator, would help cap rising gas prices in Europe.

Currently, Kremlin-controlled Gazprom has exclusive rights for Russian pipeline gas exports.

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European regulations, the so-called third energy package, require third-party access to pipelines.

Kirill Tachennikov from Moscow-based Sinara financial corporation, said it was still not clear yet if Rosneft’s possible participation in gas exports via Nord Stream 2 would help Russia raise gas supplies through the route.

“As far as the third energy package is concerned, there is no clarity on EU’s position on access for other Russian companies to the new pipeline,” he said.

The Energy Ministry did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Rosneft declined to comment.

Oil-focused Rosneft and its shareholder, BP, have long sought to export Russian natural gas to Europe as exports are more lucrative than domestic sales. Rosneft shares in Moscow jumped by more than 4% on the day in afternoon trade.

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Igor Sechin, the powerful head of Rosneft and a long-standing ally of President Vladimir Putin, has repeatedly lobbied the Kremlin to curb Gazprom’s export rights.

Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said the possibility of Rosneft exporting gas to Europe had been raised repeatedly, but that no decisions had been taken yet.

He also said that the a rapid startup of the Nord Stream 2 gas would help tackle high gas prices in Europe.

“Undoubtedly, the quickest launch of Nord Stream 2 would significantly balance out the pricing parameters of natural gas in Europe, including on the spot market. That’s obvious. The demand is high,” he told a daily conference call.

Spot prices in the Dutch TTF gas hub reached a record high 79 euros per megawatt hour, or more than $960 per 1,000 cubic meters, on Wednesday amid low levels of underground gas storage in Europe.

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A record run in energy prices that pushed European electricity costs to multi-year highs is unlikely to ease before the year-end, pointing to an expensive winter heating season for consumers.

Russia announced last week that it had completed construction of the $11 billion Nord Stream 2 to Germany, doubling its gas exporting capacity via the Baltic Sea.

Germany’s energy regulator said on Monday it had four months to complete operating certification for the new pipeline. (Reporting by Vladimir Soldatkin, Dmitry Antonov, Olesya Astakhova and Oksana Kobzeva; editing by Jason Neely and David Evans)

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