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MOSCOW, June 23. /ITAR-TASS/. Russian natural gas is piped to Europe across Ukraine in contracted volumes, Gazprom spokesperson Sergei Kupriyanov said on Monday, June 23.
The Russian Energy Ministry said no illegal siphoning of the gas had been registered in Ukraine. However, Gazprom earlier quoted the Central Dispatch Office of the fuel and energy sector as saying that Ukraine had been siphoning gas since June 19.
On June 16, Gazprom started supplying gas to Ukraine on a prepaid basis, whereby it will get as much gas as it has paid for. If it takes gas without paying for it, it will disrupt its transit to Europe.
Rainer Seele, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Wintershall, told ITAR-TASS earlier that his company (which imports Russian gas to Germany) had received the European Commission’s guarantees that in the event of transit problems in Ukraine the Commission would provide broader access to the OPAL pipeline.
According to Seele, there is enough gas in European storage facilities to avoid negative consequences during winter should there be problems with the transit of Russian gas through Ukraine.
Gazprom Export, the exporting branch of the Gazprom company, said it would use European underground gas storage (UGS) facilities to smooth over fluctuations in gas demand next winter and does not count on the Ukrainian gas transportation system.
Gazprom is ready to increase the supply of gas to European underground gas storage facilities during winter at its own expense, Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said.
“We are ready to increase the supply of gas to the European Union’s underground gas storage facilities at our own expense,” he said.
Miller said Gazprom was prepared to invest in the development of underground gas storage facilities in Europe.
The gas supply support agreement between Gazprom Export and Ukrtransgaz was rarely used and accounted for no more than several hundredth of a percentage of transit volumes. The bulk of the gas supplies across Ukraine are regulated by the contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz of Ukraine. The termination of the agreement between Gazprom Export and Ukrtransgaz will not affect the reliability of gas deliveries via Ukraine, the Russian company said.
Naftogaz of Ukraine said that Gazprom Export had stated its intention to terminate the agreement with Ukrtransgaz from June 23. The Ukrainian company said the decision “has no economic justification and increases the risk of Gazprom’s failure to perform its obligations to European consumers”.