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Routes of gas supplies for the Czech Republic

Medium-term horizon

Important change in supplies of Russian gas to great part of Europe is expected after 2020. Transit contract between Ukrainian Naftogas and Gazprom Export, the Russian supplier, will probably not be renewed or adequately substituted after its expiry in 2019. The currently dominant transit route, as far as the volume of transported Russian gas to Europe is concerned, shall therefore be replaced by two newly opened routes after 2020 – the offshore gas pipelines Nord Stream II which reaches the landfall in Germany and TurkStream directed towards Turkey. In the case of sufficient demand for gas in EU countries, the Ukrainian transit system is likely to be further used for transport of smaller volumes of Russian gas, mainly as a source of seasonal flexibility.

With this modification of transport routes, the Czech Republic will further reinforce its role of a crucial transit country for Russian gas supplies to southern Germany, France, Austria, Slovakia and Italy. New opportunities to supply Hungary and Ukraine may also appear as these countries will use the Czech transit system. Russian gas for the needs of the Czech Republic have long been supplied without the use of the Ukrainian route.

Another possibility how to extend the portfolio of gas supplies to the Czech Republic is the purchase on Polish market which is to be supplied by up to 12 bcm of gas coming from regasification LNG terminals on the north of Poland after 2025. It is however conditioned, apart from favourable price incentives, by implementation of the Stork II gas pipeline enabling direct connection of the Czech transition system to Polish market. Development of the project of the north-south corridor, which assumes this pipeline after 2023, is much more active in relation to the Poland-Slovakia interconnection though (to be operated from 2021), the Stork II project becomes in consequence rather theoretic.

Long-term horizon

Implementation of new large infrastructure projects aimed to provide more than mere interconnection of neighbouring countries is rather unlikely in the long term. Attitude of the new European Commission and European financial institutions (e.g. EIB) to natural gas as a fossil fuel indicates very low willingness to release financial means to support costly projects of supply gas pipelines. It is one of the reasons why greater development of LNG supplies is anticipated as they do not require hardly any extensive investment to infrastructure with respect to present regasification capacity highly exceeding current demand.