Ukraine is looking west for its energy needs as it faces possible disruptions to natural gas supplies from Russia and almost certain huge wholesale price hikes.
The theory is Ukraine could get Russian gas that has been sent to European Union countries, such as Germany and Hungary. It would then be redirected back through Poland and Slovakia.
Imports from other countries, such as liquified gas tankered in from the US is also possible.
Analyst Alexander Duleba with the Slovak Foreign Policy Association said: “Today there are a number of options to get the gas to Germany from anywhere in the world, then transit it to Slovakia and then on to the Ukraine. It is only a question of how much it costs. That’s all.”
The cost would include technical changes to reverse the flow of gas through the pipelines.
However Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico said his government does not have the money for that and Brussels would have to pay: “I think that Ukraine should not get gas for free. Nobody can accept a situation when Ukraine does not pay for the transit of gas. It would be necessary to build a gas flow monitoring station, which would cost around 20 million euros.”
The European Commission is working to get the reverse-flow gas pumping arrangement finalised quickly, but even if that were to happen energy experts say it would not be enough to meet Ukraine’s needs.