Gazprom says Ukraine blocking Russian gas transit

14:29, 13 January 2009
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The two companies had not agreed on volumes of gas flows?

OAO Gazprom Deputy Chief Executive Officer Alexander Medvedev said Ukraine is blocking Russian gas flows to Europe, less than four hours after resuming supplies, Bloomberg reported.

Gazprom has notified the European Commission of Ukraine’s actions and may declare force majeure, Medvedev said in a conference call with reporters today. NAK Naftogaz Ukrainy said in a statement the two companies had not agreed in time on volumes of gas flows, potentially endangering equipment.

The resumption of flows was designed to be the first step toward ending a six-day supply halt that disrupted shipments to at least 20 European nations. Gazprom, the Russian supplier of a quarter of Europe’s natural gas, attempted to resume deliveries after observers from the European Union began monitoring transit at metering stations in Russia and Ukraine under an accord signed yesterday.

“The door is closed as before,” Medvedev said. “We did not close the door. We are doing our utmost to resume flows to our customers. Unfortunately we can’t transit gas physically through Ukraine.”

The Russian company suspended flows via Ukraine on Jan. 7 after talks on a supply contract with that country collapsed. Ukraine rejects Russian accusations that the former Soviet republic siphoned off gas, and talks on shipments and transit fees are stalled. Gas may reach Europe in about 36 hours, according to Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

“The EU monitors are in place but Russia and Ukraine have yet to agree on how compressor stations powering the Ukrainian pipeline network will be fueled,” Maria Radina, an oil and gas analyst with UBS AG, said by telephone from Moscow today. “This will likely be the next issue in Russia and Ukraine negotiations.”

The Russian order to pump about 76 million cubic meters of fuel today toward the Balkans, Turkey and Moldova was broadcast on state television.

The European Union said “little or no gas” is currently flowing from Russia.

Bloomberg

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