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Sunday, August 31, 2014, Bhadra 16, 1421, Zilqad 4, 1435 Hijr

Russian gas cut to Ukraine unlikely to hurt Europe
Publish Date : 2014-08-31,  Publish Time : 00:00,  View Count : 86
PARIS, Aug 30: Moscow's latest warning that Europe could Russia in mid-June cut its deliveries for Ukraine after a pro-Western government took power, saying that Kiev had not be paying its bills on time.
But Russian gas destined for other parts of Europe was still flowing through Ukraine.
On Friday, however, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak warned that there was "a high risk that gas delivered by Gazprom for Europe will be illegally taken by Ukraine for its own use".
The warning came just a day before EU leaders were due to meet to discuss possible new sanctions against Russia, which they believe is directly involved in the insurgency in east Ukraine.
Moscow has a history of using energy supplies as a political weapon and has twice turned off the tap to Ukraine in the past decade, causing supply disruptions to Europe in 2006 and 2009.
Ukraine has recently acknowledged that it does not have sufficient reserves to make it through the winter and accused Russia of wanting to cut provisions to Europe.
Marie-Claire Aoun, director of the Centre for Energy at the French Institute of International Relations said Ukraine could be tempted to siphon off some of the billions of cubic metres of gas flowing through its territory if Moscow continues to cut off sales to its neighbour.
"Ukraine has so far been able to use its own gas stocks. But it is possible that it may at some point draw off some gas streams destined for the EU if it can no longer meet its needs," she said.
But according to Aoun, Europe has learnt from the 2009 supply disruption and has improved its capacity to respond to any likely Russian gas cut.
European underground gas storage facilities, buoyed by a mild winter, were 87 percent full as of Thursday -- enough to ensure 10 days of continuous consumption in the event of a disruption.
The continent has also diversified its gas network, developing pipelines that could re-route gas from alternative sources.    ?AFP

Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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