17 Dec 2019 20:02

Energy Community Secretariat backs certification of Ukrainian gas transmission system operator

BRUSSELS. Dec 17 (Interfax) - The EU Energy Community Secretariat has given its backing to the certification of Ukraine's gas transmission system operator.

"By an Opinion adopted today under the Third Energy Package, the Secretariat confirmed that the newly established gas transmission system operator of Ukraine, GTSO, is unbundled in line with the requirements from European law. Unbundling had been suffering from internal disputes and inertia for many years," the Secretariat said in a statement.

"Today's positive Opinion is essentially the consequence of the recent adoption of a Law on Unbundling by Verkhovna Rada. On the basis of this Law, the vertically integrated Naftogaz group transferred the shares in GTSO to MGU, a holding company controlled by the Ministry of Finance. The Ministry of Finance also equipped GTSO with so-called economic management rights over the transmission assets, which enable the company to use and operate the state-owned system. As a consequence of these transactions, GTSO will operate as an independent system operator (ISO) as from 1 January 2020," the Secretariat said.

"Certification is being carried out by the Ukrainian regulatory NEURC which has to take utmost account of the Secretariat's Opinion. Accordingly, NEURC will have to condition its final certification decision on the entry into force of the agreements on share-purchase and economic management right. In its Opinion, the Secretariat requests that NEURC pays attention to the financial viability of the new system operator which may be affected by unauthorized offtakes and payment obligations. Once the ISO has gained formal independence, NEURC should also assess the real independence in legal and factual terms of the Naftogaz group," it said.

The Ukrainian gas system is the largest in the Energy Community and the main transport route for gas to Europe, it said.