Gazprom reduces gas shipments to EU
Russia's natural-gas flows into the EU dropped today as compared to last week, Slovak pipeline operator Eustream said. At the beginning of September, gas was flowing through Ukraine to Slovakia, and from there to the rest of the EU, at a rate of more than 60 million cubic meters, but after September 11 gas flows fell to 50-55 million cubic meters, according to reports.
Russia's fuel company Gazprom yesterday said that they were unable to meet the rising gas demand from Europe because they are building stockpiles ahead of winter.
The reduction significantly undermined Europe's ability to supply Ukraine with gas. Currently, Russia's gas pipeline bypasses Ukraine, but the country recieves gas that is "reverse transported" from the EU. As was noted earlier this month in the Russian press, Gazprom artificially increased the price of gas sent to Hungary to $400 for 1,000 cubic meters by adding extra transportation charges. The increase reportedly made it too expensive for Ukraine to use reversed gas from Hungary.
The situation is especially worrisome for countries entirely dependent on Russian gas, such as Slovakia, Bulgaria – and also Hungary. Hungary gets about 70% of its gas supplies from Russia’s Gazprom and gas from Russia is transported through Hungary to Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia.
In light of the approaching winter season, Europe should be interested in stable gas supplies from Russia, but the war of sanctions between Russia the EU does not help to achieve this goal, the director of the European Centre for Energy and Resource Security (ECERS) Friedbert Pfluger told the German daily Handelsblatt. Pfluger said that a stable gas trade is important for both Russia and the EU, which is why the EU should straighten out relations with Moscow.
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