Slovakia to Seek EU Compensation for a Shortfall in Russian Gas Supplies

Written by | Wednesday, October 8th, 2014

Slovakia is to seek compensation from the European Union on – what Bratislava describes – a shortfall in deliveries from Russia, the country’s main gas supplier. Slovakia’s economy ministry said that the agreed gas supplies had decreased during the past month. Austria, Hungary, Poland, and Slovakia have all reported that Russia’s state-run oil giant Gazprom decreased their deliveries after the European Union had begun sending gas to Ukraine. Slovakia, being an important transit point for Russian gas through Ukraine to the rest of the EU, said last week that its state importer SPP had logged reduced inflows from Russia by more than 50 percent of what had been requested. Gazprom denies the claims saying that its deliveries to Slovakia have been stable and it has been meeting its contractual obligations.

Bratislava has not calculated yet whether the country incurred losses as a result of decreased supplies as it has been negotiating alternative gas sources to buffer itself against similar situations. Slovak Prime Minister, Robert Fico, announced last week that SPP had finalized a five-year agreement with E.ON Global Commodities to supply as much as 2 million cubic meters of gas a day via Austria may the need arise. SPP moreover announced a purchase of gas on the spot market in Austria, adding that deliveries would come towards the end of this year and first quarter of 2015 if needed.

Yet, the economy ministry said that the European Energy Commissioner, Günther Oettinger, had confirmed that Slovakia could be compensated. Miriam Ziakova, a spokesperson of the economy ministry, commented that the issue would be discussed at the nearest European Council meeting. “Commissioner Oettinger confirmed Slovakia should get compensation if it calculates its losses,” she added. Russia has stopped its gas flows deliveries three times in past ten years – in 2006, 2009, and since June this year. Gas for the EU, via Ukraine, continues flowing in despite the pricing dispute between Ukraine and Russia. Yet, analysts warn that the recent shortfall in Russia’s deliveries is a clear sign that Moscow is ready to retaliate this winter if Brussels opts for more sanctions over the Ukrainian crisis.

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