Gazprom withholding gas from Poland

Feb. 18, 2009 at 10:53 AM
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WARSAW, Poland, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Russian energy monopoly Gazprom informed its counterpart in Poland that gas supplies would remain below 100 percent until both sides agree to a new contract.

The Warsaw Business Journal reports that Gazprom is delivering only 75 percent of the gas under the terms of earlier agreements with the state-owned Polish Petroleum and Gas Mining.

Warsaw says this may be the case until April 30. The 25 percent reduction came into force following a January dispute between Russia and Ukraine over gas arrears and contracts.

About 80 percent of the Russian natural gas bound for European markets travels through Ukraine. Russia disrupted those supplies as a result of the row, leaving Europe scrambling for gas supplies for weeks.

Gazprom said it would not return supplies to pre-January levels without a new contract. The current contract expires this year.

Poland receives much of its gas through the Yamal-Europe pipeline from Germany through to Belarus. The January disruptions put renewed focus on ways to diversify the European energy sector to ease its dependence on Russia.

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