Home News Belgium ‘safe’ in Russia-Ukraine gas dispute

Belgium ‘safe’ in Russia-Ukraine gas dispute

Published on 02/01/2006

2 January 2006

BRUSSELS — Gas supplies in Western Europe are not yet at threat due to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, major gas suppliers Gaz de France and the German E.O.N. said on Monday.

The Russian state gas company Gazprom cut off the supply of gas to neighbouring Ukraine on Sunday morning in a developing dispute over price.

Western Europe — which imports 25 percent of its gas needs from Gazprom — can obtain alternative gas supplies from Norway or the Netherlands.

However, several Central European countries reported a noticeable fall in pressure in gas pipelines coming from Eastern Europe on Monday.

Countries such as Austria, Slovakia and Hungary reported reduced supplies amounting to almost one-third, newspaper ‘Het Laatste Nieuws’ reported.

Gazprom accused Ukraine of stealing gas that was destined for the rest of Europe. It estimated that 100 million cubic metres of gas was stolen, amounting to EUR 25 million.

Ukraine denied the allegations, but has also said if the temperature drops markedly it will be forced to use European gas.

Belgian branch organisation Distrigas has ruled out fears of gas shortages in Belgium. Gas companies here buy very little gas from Russia.

Instead, Belgium imports its gas needs primarily from Norway, Algeria and the Netherlands.

However, there are concerns that the Russian-Ukraine conflict could cause problems in Western Europe.

The price of gas rose by 9.4 percent on the APX gas exchange on Monday, rising to a price of 66.2 pence per unit.

Large gas users have also been warned of possible restrictions in supply.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news