SLOVAKIA has definitively decided to supply gas to Ukraine. The memorandum on the reverse gas flow from Slovakia to Ukraine is to be signed on April 28 in Bratislava.

Slovak gas-pipeline operator Eustream and Ukrainian operator Ukrtransgaz agreed in Kiev on Friday April 25 to sign a memorandum of understanding concerning the so-called small reverse gas route to Ukraine, Slovak Economy Ministry spokesman Stanislav Jurikovič told the TASR newswire.

The Slovak and Ukrainian economy ministers and representatives of the EC attended the meeting.

Eustream stressed that using the small reverse gas route from the thermal power plant in Vojany (Košice Region) to Uzghorod is the best solution at the moment from a technical and legal standpoint. The main topic of the talks was a "minor revamp" of the memorandum, which is currently being finalised by experts from both sides, said Jurikovič.

"I view it as a successful conclusion of strenuous negotiations ... I believe that this outcome is the first possible solution that won't threaten the energy security of Slovakia and the EU; it's a rapid solution, and I'm happy that representatives of the European Commission have also supported this option," said Economy Minister Tomáš Malatinský.

Slovakia could begin supplying gas to Kiev as early as the end of this year via the gas pipeline in Vojany, which should gradually transport 10 billion cubic metres of gas to the neighbouring country annually. Ukrainian Energy Minister Juri Prodan told the Hospodárske Noviny daily that once gas crosses the Slovak border it is no longer Russian gas.

In order to fulfil the agreement Slovakia will have to invest some €21 million annually in Vojany. It is not certain for now who will pay it. Neither the semi-state gas pipeline operator Eustream nor the state has commented on the matter.

José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission who is visiting Slovakia, will be present for the signing of the memorandum.

Source: TASR, Hospodárske Noviny

Compiled by Michaela Terenzani from press reports.
The Slovak Spectator cannot vouch for the accuracy of the information
presented in its Flash News postings.