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Slovak firms curb output due to gas supply cuts

US Steel Corp. reduced production at its plant in the eastern Slovak town of Kosice due to a halt in natural gas supplies from Russia, a company source said, and other major firms have also cut output.

A spokesman for US Steel Kosice, which was Slovakia's fourth-biggest company by revenues in 2007, declined to comment. Refiner Slovnaft, a unit of Hungarian oil and gas firm MOL, said it had also reduced production. Slovnaft was the second-largest Slovak company last year, and it needs around 1 million cubic meters of natural gas a day for oil processing. The assembly plants of car makers Kia Motors and PSA Peugeot Citroen said they were assessing the impact of reduced gas supplies. “If we have to cut gas consumption to a minimum, it would affect production because it is heat-demanding,” Kia factory spokesman Dusan Dvorak said. Slovak gas firm Slovensky Plynarensky Priemysel, run by GDF Suez and E.ON, declared what is known as a “state of emergency with gas supplies” on Tuesday. It has reduced gas deliveries to customers with annual consumption exceeding 60,000 cubic meters to a “safe minimum.” Slovak Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek said Slovakia, which entered the euro zone on January 1, had natural gas reserves of around 2.0 billion cubic meters, accounting for a third of its annual consumption. (Reuters)