London — Ukraine's gas grid operator GTSOU said June 23 it would carry out maintenance at the Budince interconnection point on the border with Slovakia starting August 11, leading to physical flows coming to a total halt.
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GTSOU said the work could continue until as late as October 1.
The move may come as a shock to traders who bought gas to store in Ukraine later this summer as Budince is the entry point for gas from Europe to flow into Ukraine via Slovakia.
In a statement, GTSOU said the changes to its maintenance schedule meant the new repair work at the Budince interconnection point would lead to "the complete stop of physical transportation through the Budince from August 11, 2020."
"The above-mentioned repair works are necessary for the safe operation of infrastructure and preparation for the next winter season," GTSOU said.
To reduce the period of interruption, GTSOU said the work would be combined with the repair work that was already planned for September 2-6.
"GTSOU will make every effort to carry out the repair work as quickly and efficiently as possible and to minimize the period of interruption," it said.
GTSOU said it had offered "several times" to the Slovakian gas grid operator Eustream ways to ease the disruption for network users that were hoping to inject gas into Ukrainian storages.
These include: The unification of Budince with the Velke Kapusany interconnection point to create one virtual interconnection point; or providing access to Velke Kapusany -- on the same terms without additional payment -- to the allocated capacity at the entry point at Budince only during the period of repair works and within the limits of the allocated capacity at the entry point at Budince.
GTSOU said it had also requested clarification from the national regulatory authority on the possibility of using these measures.
"GTSOU is expecting positive feedback soon," it said.