Poland's gas deliveries via Ukraine still short

09:41, 05 February 2009
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Because RosUkrEnergo is delivering no gas?

Poland`s national gas monopoly said Wednesday it is still suffering significant shortages in gas deliveries coming through Ukraine, long after a deal between Moscow and Kiev ended a bitter pricing dispute that prompted a temporary halt to supplies, AP reported.

Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo (PGNiG) is receiving only 76 percent of its total contracted deliveries from Russia because the Swiss-based energy trader RosUkrEnergo is delivering no gas, PGNiG spokeswoman Joanna Zakrzewska told The Associated Press.

Gazprom said that RosUkrEnergo stopped deliveries because "supply is now being implemented without an intermediary, as agreed" when the company was eliminated as a middleman in the deal resolving the Russian-Ukrainian gas dispute last month.

RosUkrEnergo delivers half of the Russian gas that is transported through Ukraine, with Gazprom supplying the other half.

In early January — as the dispute between Moscow and Kiev gathered pace — RosUkrEnergo cut natural gas deliveries to Poland until further notice, as did Gazprom.

Russia and Ukraine struck a hard-fought deal Jan. 19, and gas deliveries to Europe resumed soon after.

Since then, Poland has only been getting gas from Gazprom, Zakrzewska said — even though RosUkrEnergo has a contract to supply the country until the end of 2009. She said PGNiG has heard nothing from the company and is considering taking legal action against it.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko had demanded that RosUkrEnergo quit the trade. Analysts have long questioned why the two countries needed to funnel billions of dollars in gas transactions through the company.

According to corporate Web sites, it is half-owned by Russia`s Gazprom and half by CentraGas Holding AG, a Vienna-based company controlled by two Ukrainian businessmen.

RosUkrEnergo did not immediately reply to an e-mail from The Associated Press seeking comment.

PGNiG has covered the gap in deliveries so far by drawing from strategic reserves, which currently stand at around 50 percent of capacity.

It has also sent a number of letters to Gazprom requesting an urgent meeting to discuss making up for the shortfall in gas.

"We want to talk with all possible sides to find alternative gas supplies," Zakrzewska said. "We are waiting for a reply."

Gazprom said Wednesday it is ready to cover the shortage in deliveries, but stressed the need for new intergovernmental negotiations.

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