Europe shivers as Russia-Ukraine gas dispute rumbles on

14th January 2009, Comments 0 comments

Russia had earlier announced that a truce had been reached only to halt supplies again after only a few hours.

Paris -- Much of Europe was still suffering in the cold Tuesday as a result of Russia and Ukraine's "gas war" which has seen supplies of natural gas cut.

Russia earlier Tuesday announced that a truce had been reached only to halt supplies again after only a few hours.

The Gazprom energy giant said Ukraine was blocking gas destined for Europe, while Ukraine said Russia had imposed "unacceptable" technical conditions.

The breakdown caused anger in Europe. Central European and Balkan states, which are heavily reliant on Russian gas, have been hit particularly hard by the dispute as they take the brunt of a cold snap in Europe.

If gas supplies do start flowing again, Russian deliveries are not expected to arrive in Europe for between 24 to 72 hours.

Here is a look at how the cuts are affecting various European countries:

AUSTRIA: Austria says it does not expect to receive any Russian gas before Wednesday evening or Thursday morning. Russia supplies 60 percent of the country's total gas consumption. Vienna says it can guarantee the gas supply to households for three months and has not imposed any restrictions on use. Several gas-fired power stations have already switched to oil.

BOSNIA-HERCEGOVINA: The situation returned to normal Tuesday due to deliveries from German and Hungary. Germany has said there will be no further threat to this supply after the Russia-Ukraine crisis left one third of the population deprived of heating.

BULGARIA: Bulgarians were still in the cold Tuesday despite most heating stations in cities and towns switching to oil. Russian supplies were expected to arrive Wednesday morning, according to Gazprom's Bulgarian subsidiary. Bulgaria's national gas group, however, has refused to make any predictions. More than 220 factories are still running at minimum capacity or are shut down entirely in Bulgaria. Russian gas normally supplies 92 percent of national consumption.

CROATIA: A state of emergency has not yet been lifted in Croatia as 40 percent of its gas imports come from Russia. The country is currently dependent on deliveries from Germany and Italy. Supplies to large industry have been cut with local reserves only able to keep the country going for another few weeks.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Eighteen million cubic metes of gas is arriving daily from Norway and Germany to boost stocks. Despite facing a consumption increase of five million cubic meters because of the cold weather, the Czech Republic has committed itself to sending four million cubic meters to Slovakia.

FRANCE: National supplier Gaz de France says it cannot "hold on all winter like this" as the gas crisis lowers its supply by 15 percent and the cold spell sees demand spike 40 percent.

GERMANY: E.ON Ruhrgas, which receives its Russian supply via Belarus, continued with deliveries to Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina despite the cuts.

GREECE: The country says it has enough reserves to make up for the loss of the Russian supply after a ship transporting a one-week supply of liquefied natural gas arrived Sunday in Greece, with a second shipment expected January 20.

HUNGARY: Hungary said Tuesday it was "technically" ready to receive new deliveries from Russia. Relying on its reserves since the beginning of the crisis, restrictions remain for consumption above 2,500 cubic meters an hour.

ITALY: Deprived of the Russian gas that makes up 27 percent of its imports, Italy continues to draw on reserves that could last for up to two months. The government has also called for extraction from the Northern Adriatic Sea so as to diminish the country's reliance on imports.

MOLDAVA: EU nations have sent aid to Moldova to help it deal with crippling gas shortages after national gas reserves ran out Saturday. The situation is dire in Transdniestr, with most of the breakaway region going without gas, communal heating services or hot water.

POLAND: Eighty-four percent of the country's usual gas supplies from Russia continue to be delivered via Belarus.

ROMANIA: Romania said Tuesday they were ready to reopen gas pipelines as they wait for new deliveries from Russia. Before the crisis, the country imported daily 10 million cubic meters of Russian gas from a total consumption of 60 million. It has sufficient reserves to keep it going for between 60 and 80 days.

SERBIA: Authorities, after switching heating in urban areas over to oil fuel, are optimistic that Russian supplies will restart by Thursday morning.

SLOVAKIA: Bratislava has postponed its decision to re-open a Soviet-era nuclear reactor in a bid to avoid blackouts. The re-opening of the plant would breach conditions it agreed to when joining the EU and the European Commission has threatened legal action if Slovakia reneges on those promises. A state of emergency remains in place as gas reserves run low.

SLOVENIA: Ljubljana meets domestic demand by drawing on its own reserves and supplies from Austria. Russian gas deliveries normally account for 60 percent of national supply.


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