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Full text of the speech of Yulia Tymoshenko at the International Conference on Modernization of Gas Transport System of Ukraine in Brussels
Dear ladies and gentlemen!
First of all, I want to express gratitude to all organizers of today’s event for their hospitality, constructive mood and, undoubtedly, for the new dialog triggered with Ukraine in the direction of modernization and reconstruction of gas transport system. Such readiness of European partners to cooperate with Ukraine is of exceptional significance for us nowadays. I consider in the crisis period every country is planning to come out stronger after these challenges, after these incredible tests. Ukraine is not an exception and today, after 17 years of Ukraine’s independence, we are trying to modernize, reconstruct the whole energy sector of Ukraine. We are working over completion of huge hydro-accumulating facilities, building new blocks of nuclear power stations, we are into reconstruction and modernization of heat-accumulating capacities, our heat and water supply system, necessary for Ukrainian citizens.
I can admit it is a huge complex of activities performed by us today, which calls for search of resources and organizational possibilities despite the hard challenges of the crunch.
At the same time, the GTS of Ukraine has been operating for 17 years with success, no delay has been demonstrated over this period except the political disturbance at the beginning of year, but I want to accentuate it was not an operational disturbance.
This conference is of extreme importance for us, as energy security of Europe is one of the challenges of present time that call for coordinated actions and solidarity approach of Ukraine and the EU. The generally recognized response to this challenge is diversification of energy sources and resources of energy supplies. And again, Ukraine and the EU share the similar opinion in this topic.
Together with that, the global financial crisis is teaching us to change our attitude and under such conditions I think we should turn to a more objective attitude to the gas transport system of Ukraine, as during a crisis it is rather hard to invest money into new global projects, but the Ukrainian GTS is worth investing funds. It will be functioning stably and give necessary output.
Also, I want to say, our system is the most powerful in the world on the transit amount and appears a so-to-say bridge between the largest gas-extraction region – Russia, Middle Asia and European consumers. The system is technically connected with gas systems of the neigbouring countries – Russia, Belarus, Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova and Romania. The main flow of export supplies of Russian gas to 19 European states (which is 80% of the amount) is being performed via the territory of Ukraine.
Improvement of Ukraine’s GTS with its huge technical potential and developed infrastructure doesn’t need significant capital investments and appears economically profitable for the whole gas network of Europe. A joint workgroup of independent experts from Ukraine and the EU, that had held research during 2002-2006 years, have come to a conclusion the technical state of gas transport system of Ukraine is satisfactory and the system can ensure transit of gas to the tune of 140 billion cubic meters of gas year-on-year.
We know nowadays alternative kinds of gas supplies by-passing Ukraine are being widely discussed. Recently this topic has become rather popular, much is said about it but I would like to draw attention to the fact, building of new gas mains necessitates dozens and dozens billion dollars of fresh investments that are colossal funds. But investing into Ukraine’s GTS a sum of 5.5 billion dollars will enable to increase output capacity of Ukrainian gas transport system by 60 billion cubic meters.
I wish anyone could remember one more effective from the economical point of view and more profitable from the economical, but not from the political, point of view project. That’s why, using this opportunity, I want to urge investors to cooperation in this direction.
However, carrying out works in modernization and enlargement of the gas transport system we should have firm guarantees on the part of Russia and the EU concerning the amounts of transit of gas through the territory of Ukraine for a long-term perspective. Investing the envisaged funds into the system of modernization and reconstruction, investing these 5.5 billion dollars into increasing of transportation amounts we have to be assured the transit of gas via the territory of Ukraine will be conducted in full amounts.
To my conviction, the results of today’s conference have to ensure joint contribution into energy and economic safety of the whole European continent. I would like to stress the trust and attention of Eurounion to Ukrainian GTS proved by this conference are not groundless. Ukraine is moving purposefully in the direction of full-fledged EU membership and gradually taking measures directed to integration into energy market of the Eurounion. A very significant step towards implementation of this task we consider joining by our state the Energy Community Treaty. Ukraine is fully aware of all the complexity of work which is to be done to acquire energy community membership. Firstly, it concerns bringing a huge block of Ukrainian legislation norms in the energy domain – providing with services, competitiveness and trade – into compliance with the European rules and norms.
Another real step of integration of energy markets has to become joining of a united energy system of Ukraine with Union for the Coordination of Transmission of Electricity. The strategy of Ukraine in terms of synchronic joining of our networks remains invariable and it gives to Ukraine a huge potential as Ukraine is capable of generating much more energy than it consumes – by 30% marginally.
Except commercial profit for the two sides such synchronization will become a significant factor of raising of safety of energy supplies of Ukraine and the whole united Europe.
We are also involved into negotiations on Association Agreement between Ukraine and the EU, working over creation of the deepened and overall free trade area. Energy community and integration of energy markets is an important component of our understandings. Implementation of the mentioned measures practically shifts European legislative circle in energy area from western border of Ukraine to the eastern one, and the Government of Ukraine is persistently working over how to solve this issue.
That’s why under provisions of a package of documents of the European Commission Ukraine is inclined to play the role of the strategic partner in implementation of the European energy policy. In particular, concerning participation in the development of hydrocarbon supplies infrastructure. In this connection it is evident that development and functioning of Ukrainian GTS according to the European principles and standards is a harmonious component of the general process of integration of Ukraine’s energy markets with those of the EU.
We are striving to remain competitive and maintain proper condition of our own GTS, which will enforce the status of Ukrainian GTS as a strategically significant factor of European energy safety. Modernization of Ukrainian GTS and its functioning on the basis of EU norms and standards are opening new opportunities, in particular, in the context of raising of amounts of transported natural gas, energy saving and reducing of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere.
Today you will have a chance to get familiarized with a master-plan of modernization of Ukrainian gas transport system, specially elaborated by the Ukrainian party to the conference. Besides, a significant for Ukraine, and I wish to believe for the EU either, joint statement of participants of the conference is to be signed. This instrument creates all necessary political-organizational prerequisites aimed at launch of a complex and large-scale process of reforming of the gas transport system.
Secondly, a joint statement will clearly fix the GTS of Ukraine has been and will remain, pursuant to the laws in force in Ukraine, the state property.
Moreover, the statement which is to be inked today will be the proof of the EU trust to Ukrainian GTS as a reliable system of transit of gas to the European consumers. This, in fact, will cease any rumours about unreliability of the gas transport system of Ukraine. The statement is a signal for all potential investors, with a desire to participate in this process, that this process has the backing of Europe, the backing of Ukraine and I believe, has also the backing of the Russian Federation.
The statement, due to be signed today, and our work are a proof of mutual striving of the parties to further cooperation in the context of harmonization of standards of functioning of the GTS and whole energy sector of Ukraine with the European standards.
It is very important that the declaration, due to be signed today, admits Ukraine’s GTS as an integral part of the general European energy infrastructure.
The current situation is creating prerequisites for gradual integration of Ukraine to the internal energy market of the EU, facilitating to acquiring energy community membership for Ukraine. I think today’s event is an extremely significant event.
Besides, we believe today’s meeting, today’s conference, signed documents will also affirm readiness of the EU to render political, financial and technical assistance to the process of adaptation of institutional and legislative norms of Ukraine to the legislation of the European Union.
Realization of investment projects with regards to the Ukrainian GTS will enable to lure Ukrainian contracting companies, companies of other states to fulfill works and perform respective supplies in the framework of projects in the mentioned domain which, undoubtedly, will stir up the economic sector of Ukraine and the states wishing to participate in such large-scale projects of reconstruction and modernization.
I want to reiterate my belief that our conference will become an example for holding similar events in other countries. I wish all the participants a fruitful work. On my part, as the Head of Ukrainian Government, I guarantee rather firm control over keeping by Ukraine liabilities in the context of bringing to compliance with the norms and standards of the EU functioning of the gas sector.
I believe such a large-scale program, launched by the EU and Ukraine today, will give a perfect signal to the whole world meaning Ukraine is a reliable partner in energy sector.