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Redebeitrag bei Veranstaltung „Vorstellung Projekt Rehabilitierung Kompressorstation Bar (Sojus-Gasleitung)“

07.02.2018 - Rede

It is a distinct pleasure for me to be here in Bar today and get first hand insight of the state of play of the project for the modernization of Bar compressor Station. In many respects, this project is a beacon of German-Ukrainian cooperation in the energy sector – a sector which is of critical, even strategic importance for both our countries.

That has been true since the very beginning of the Soyuz gas pipeline about 40 years ago. It was a consortium of three of the most reputable German companies (Mannesmann, AEG, Deutsche Bank) which delivered the pipes and the bulk of the equipment for the pipeline, and which drew up financing solutions for its construction. Since then, the Soyuz pipeline has been connecting Ukraine with Central Europe, including Germany.

Back in the 1970ies and 80ies, altogether 73 compressor stations were built on Ukrainian territory. The station here in Bar is a particularly important part of the whole gas transit system. It is not only part of the Soyuz pipeline, but interconnected to the two other main gas transit lines which also pass by here.

Now, the modernization of Bar compressor station will, as I hope, start soon. And, hopefully, this pilot project will become a starting point for the modernization of the whole system of Ukrainian gas transit pipelines. Not because they do not function well today – the opposite is true.

But it is perfectly normal that, after some elements of the system have been in operation for much more than 30 years now, they do not represent the latest “state of the art” anymore.

Therefore, I am particularly delighted that it is, once again, two leading German companies which play a key role in the modernization of Bar compressor station:

  • on the technical and engineering side, and as the general contractor, Ferrostaal, a company with decades-long experience and very strong credentials in high-quality execution of such projects in many countries;
  • and on the financing side, yet again Deutsche Bank.

But also the German Federal government is directly involved: given that the project has a financial volume of well above 50 mio. Euros, the participation of the German companies would hardly have become possible without the German Export Credit Agency guaranteeing the transaction.

The modernized facilities will run with reduced operational costs; more environmentally and climate-friendly; and even more reliably. I am confident the pilot project here in Bar will become, both with regard to technical and commercial aspects, a model for similar modernizations of other compressor stations – yet again with the participation of German companies, as I hope.

In short, this project promises a win-win outcome for all parties involved: for Ukrtransgaz; its German partners; and European companies and households to whom gas is flowing via Ukraine now and in the future.

All this would be more than enough to make this project one of major importance. But its strategic significance goes even further: regardless of differing opinions regarding some other energy issues, the project amply shows that both Germany and Ukraine are interested in, and are indeed cooperating in preserving, major gas transit volumes via Ukraine beyond the year 2019.

Germany has stated on numerous occasions that it would like to see new agreements on this matter between the parties involved; and it strongly supports the efforts of the EU Commission aimed at making such agreements possible.

For this, a Ukrainian gas transit system which retains its full functionality and long-term viability is indispensable. And this is not only a matter of its technical modernization. It is also about the most appropriate and feasible ways of managing the Ukrainian gas transmission system operator in the future.  

As you, Mr. Kobolev, have rightly pointed out, Ukraine has to do its “homework” in this regard. On the one hand, this means keeping its pipelines properly functioning on “state of the art” level, i.e. modernizing them, where necessary. On the other hand, it means working out models, and taking the necessary decisions, on how companies from EU member states can play an active role in managing the TSO.

Germany´s Federal Government strongly supports approaches which foresee such an active role of European companies, and the work the EU commission is playing in this regard, too. We do think that allowing such a role, and making it commercially viable, would result in yet another win-win-situation:

for the companies involved, but also for Ukraine with a view to retaining its role as a major gas transit country.

In this context, we observe with great interest that Naftogaz has already signed “memoranda of understanding” with several EU companies; and that the Energy Ministry has invited European companies to formally express interest in participating in the management of Ukraine´s TSO in the future.

I think you will now understand better why I called the Bar project a beacon of German-Ukrainian cooperation. It is one of major significance, and one which promises to bring very positive long-term results for both our countries. Thank you very much.

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