LJUBLJANA, Slovenia, July 21 (UPI) -- European Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs singled out Slovenia as the least prepared for a natural gas crisis of all member states.
The European Union declared energy security a top priority, calling on all member states to appoint a gas supply czar, determine any risks and recommend the necessary actions to prevent an energy crisis.
A January gas dispute between Moscow and Kiev spilled over to the European energy sector as 80 percent of all Russian gas bound for Europe runs through Ukrainian territory.
The Slovenian Ministry of Economy said the country was particularly exposed to a potential energy crisis due to financial setbacks related to a supplementary gas pipeline from Austria.
The ministry said it would work to facilitate the development of an underground storage facility to shore up gas supply security, while pushing the construction of a new compressor station that may help ease Russian dependency.
Meanwhile, Slovenian transmission system operator Geoplin Plinovodi teamed up with Hungarian energy company MOL to conduct a feasibility study for a pipeline connection between the two countries.
Hungary and Slovenia do not have a current energy transit connection.