E.ON Földgáz Storage, the Hungarian gas storage unit of German utilities giant E.ON, is ready to release gas from its 3.8-billion-cubic-meter-capacity reserves, which are 90% filled, if some Russian gas deliveries to Europe are halted because of a row with Ukraine, E.ON Földgáz Storage spokesman István Kutas told MTI on Tuesday.
Russia and Ukraine were seen inching toward an agreement over more than $2 billion in debts on Tuesday. Russia has said it will cut off gas supply to the country if no agreement can be reached by January 1.
E.ON can supply a daily 51 million cubic meters of gas from the reserves, Kutas said. Cold temperatures have pushed Hungary’s daily gas consumption up to 66 million cubic meters over the past several days, he added.
E.ON’s reserves include 200 million cubic meters of gas which is part of a government mandated strategic reserve. The minister in charge of energy affairs decides on freeing these reserves up at the request of the Hungarian Energy Office (MEH).
A similar row between Russian and Ukraine disrupted gas deliveries briefly in the winter of 2006 and forced Hungary’s government to place restrictions on gas consumption by some big industrial consumers.
The experience prompted the government to mandate the construction of a 1.2 billion-cubic-meter strategic gas reserve. Hungarian oil and gas company MOL won the tender to build the reserve, which will big enough to meet the country’s gas demand for 45 days when completed by 2010.
E.ON Földgáz Storage is spending about HUF 30 billion to add another 4.4 billion cubic meters of reserve capacity by August 2009. (MTI-Eco)