Ukraine ready to move extra gas if Russia-Belarus dispute worsens

Kiev (Platts)

Ukraine is ready to move additional volumes of natural gas to Europe if the gas debt dispute between Russia and Belarus escalates to a point where supply disruptions to the region occur, state-owned Naftogaz Ukrayiny said Tuesday. Naftogaz, and its gas shipment arm UkrTransGaz, have prepared for emergency shipments, but no extra gas supplies have yet reached Ukraine, the company added. UkrTransGaz added in a statement that the Ukrainian gas pipeline system stands ready to accept extra amounts of Russian gas. Russia asked Ukraine on Thursday to be ready to ship additional supplies of natural gas via its gas pipeline system if the dispute worsens, an official said. Russia sends around 80% of its total gas exports to Europe via Ukraine, with the remaining 20% going via Belarus. Germany, Lithuania and Poland mainly receive Russian gas through a pipeline that crosses Belarus, but re-routing gas supplies through Ukraine would help ease supply disruptions, the official said. Russia says Belarus owes Russian gas giant Gazprom $192 million for gas supplies in the first four months of the year, while Belarus has responded that Gazprom owes the country about $200 million for gas shipment services. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave Belarus a five-day deadline to pay the debt that ended on Saturday. Russia has warned it may cut its supply of gas through Belarus by up to 85%.


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