Skourletis asks Russians for fairer gas prices

Skourletis asks Russians for fairer gas prices

In talks with his Russian counterpart Alexander Novak and top Gazprom officials in Moscow this week, Energy Minister Panos Skourletis raised the issue of changing the pricing formula for natural gas flowing from Russia to Greece.

Skourletis asked that the Russians peg the rates of gas destined for Greece to the rates of that heading to European hubs, to ensure this country gets competitive supply rates too.

The current formula Gazprom uses to price gas to Greece takes into account the global rates of oil and oil products. When oil prices are low, like today, this formula may give Greece low gas rates, but in the long term it leads to noncompetitive prices compared to rates elsewhere in Europe.

Skourletis also asked the Russians to reduce the contractual quantities for 2015 and 2016 and roll the difference over to the contractual quantities for 2017-26, citing the considerable decline in gas consumption in Greece owing to the recession. He also requested a drastic cut in the amount Public Gas Corporation (DEPA) owes to Gazprom due to the take-or-pay clause in the supply contract for 2014.

The Russians reportedly reminded Greece of its obligations as laid out in the first supply deal between the two countries, as well as a provision for the concession to Russian firms of two hydroelectric projects on the Acheloos River, which have been blocked by the Council of State, Greece’s highest administrative court.

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