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VIENNA. January 28. /TASS/. Re-directing Russia’s gas supplies to Europe bypassing Ukraine from 2019 is a decided matter and the European Union has little time to prepare sufficient infrastructure, Chairman of the Gazprom Board of Directors Viktor Zubkov said on Wednesday.
"Considering the decision made on re-directing supplies from 2019, European partners do not have so much time (for infrastructure preparation)," he said at the European gas conference in Vienna.
A decision to supply Russian natural gas via the Turkish route bypassing Ukraine was made by the country’s top political leadership, Zubkov said on Wednesday.
"The decision on the construction of the Turkish Stream gas pipeline was made by the country’s highest political leadership," Zubkov said in reply to TASS’ question about whether the decision to supply gas bypassing Ukraine from 2019 was final. The Turkish Stream project will fully substitute the volume of gas currently pumped to Europe via Ukraine, he said.
The OPAL gas pipeline affair has no explanation and looks like investor’s discrimination on political grounds, Zubkov said.
"Within the framework of partnership logic, this has no explanation and looks like an investor’s discrimination for political reasons," he said, adding that the gas pipeline was currently operating at half its capacity.
OPAL is the surface extension of the Nord Stream gas carrier under the Baltic Sea, which delivers Russian gas to the EU countries bypassing transit countries. Russia and Germany would like the pipeline to be exempt from the operation of the EU’s Third Energy Package rules, which allows Gazprom to use only half of OPAL’s capacity. Late last year the European Commission postponed its decision on the OPAL issue till January 2015.