Published: February 17 2011
From Mr Sergei Kuprianov.
Mikhail Korchemkin (Letters, February 11) questions the economic
rationale of Gazprom’s Sokhranovka-Oktyabrskaya pipeline. Mr
Korchemkin misses a number of relevant points.
The fact that Gazprom
constructed a pipeline that circumvents Ukraine to bring Russian gas
to Russian consumers in the south of the country is by no means
uneconomic. First, the return on investment is more than convincing
– 12 per cent a year. Second, Mr Korchemkin’s suggestion that
Gazprom could save money by sticking to a transit system that is not
always reliable reflects a rather short-sighted view that disregards
the interests of Gazprom’s shareholders and customers.
The gas transit crises
in early 2006 and especially in 2009, when Ukraine shut down its
transit system, preventing Russian gas from reaching our European
customers, made clear how exposed Gazprom – and Europe – were to
transit risks in third countries. The three weeks of shutdown in
2009 cost our company $2bn. Ensuring security of gas transit by
investing in the diversification of our supply routes, be it through
the South Stream project, or the Sokhranovka-Oktyabrskaya pipeline,
is not only economically sound, but absolutely necessary.
Finally, following Mr
Korchemkin’s logic, the European Union’s political drive to support
the construction of new pipelines and interconnectors on the
national energy markets would also qualify as “uneconomic”.
I wonder whether he
would be equally critical of these multibillion programmes with
uncertain economic perspectives and lack of guaranteed supplies?