Ukraine’s gas transmission authority Operator GTS Ukrainy has warned about a possible interruption of Russian gas transit supplies to Europe as Russia continues to escalate its military offensive in the country.

Operator GTS said in a statement on Thursday that Russian troops are trying to take control of the Kupyansk compressor pumping station in the Kharkov region, about 42 kilometres from the Russian border.

The statement also said that fighters from separatist Luhansk Republic are closing on the Novopskov station in the Luhansk region, located about 30 kilometres from the country’s border with Russia.

The company said: “Any interference in the technological processes of gas transportation creates significant risks to the safety of continuous gas transportation to consumers in Ukraine and Europe, and could lead to a technological catastrophe in the region.”

Operator GTS Ukrainy has been reacting to pronouncements in Moscow by Russian deputy minister Pavel Sorokin on Wednesday that both compressor stations are already under Russian military control, but the country promises to guarantees “the safety of their operations”.

Sorokin said that Ukraine’s transmission authorities remain responsible for avoiding “provocations and the halt of operations” of the next compressor stations that currently enable the flow of about 110 million cubic metres of Russian gas across Ukraine to Europe.

The Kremlin has so far refrained from playing out recent warnings from Russian deputy prime minister Alexander Novak that Moscow may order to halt the flow of natural gas to Germany via Gazprom-led Nord Stream subsea pipeline from Russia in response to international sanctions.

Instead, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said earlier on Thursday in Antalya, Turkey, that Russia intends to remain a reliable exporter of oil and gas, even though the country is now faced with the possibility of the a definitive Western shift from Russian energy imports.

Operator GTS said that the country holds adequate gas reserves in underground storage facilities in the west of Ukraine, estimated at about 10 billion cubic metres.

Provided that the trunkline network is not damaged, these reserves should be sufficient to satisfy current domestic demand, despite a prolonged spell of cold weather across Eastern Europe, according to Operator GTS executive board chairman Sergei Makogon.

He added that the country will have to import between 6 Bcm to 7 Bcm of gas between April and October and in order to get storage levels back to secure levels for the next winter season.

For its part, Russian gas giant Gazprom has again warned European customers on potential gas shortage in the fourth quarter as storage facilities on the continent are just 27% full.

Nearly 50 Bcm of gas was drawn down from European storage so far this winter, Gazprom said.

Despite a new threat to Ukraine’s gas trunkline infrastructure, gas spot prices in Europe have continued their retreat from record high levels.

Leading contracts at the TTF hub in the Netherlands for the spot delivery of gas in April fell by more than 7% in today’s trading to Euro 144 per Megawatt, or about $1900 per 1,000 cubic metres, thus losing half of its record high value seen in early trading hours on Monday this week.

Stay a step ahead with the Upstream News app
Read high quality news and insight on the oil and gas business and its energy transition on-the-go. The News app offers you more control over your Upstream reading experience than any other platform.