PM and Gazprom chief discuss Yamal pipeline
Rem Viachirev, the president of Russian gas giant Gazprom, met Slovak Prime Minister Mikuláš Dzurinda November 21 in Bratislava to discuss the government's privatisation plans for the world's second-largest gas distributor, Slovenský plynarenský priemysel (SPP), in which a 49% stake is due to be sold either next year or in early 2002.
The two men also discussed the construction of a southern branch of the Yamal pipeline, which would run through Slovakia.
The Slovak Economy Ministry has said that Slovakia supports increasing the volume of transported Russian natural gas to ensure effective use of the current transit network of state-owned SPP.
Gazprom in mid-October signed a letter of intent with German companies Ruhrgas and Wintershall, French firm Gaz de France and Italy's SNAM to build a new gas transit route to western European customers bypassing the Ukraine, which Russia claims has been stealing gas from its pipelines.
Unions press for lower energy price for companies
Trade unions are attempting to convince power producer Slovenské elektrárne (SE) to agree to individual contracts on power supplies with large industrial companies in order to protect jobs, Emil Machyna, head of the KOVO trade union, said after meeting with Economy Minister Ľubomír Harach.
SE management has said it wants to save 420 jobs at metallurgical company Oravské Ferozliatinové Závody (OFZ), in Istebné. OFZ employs 1,600 people and has an annual output of 3.6 billion crowns ($72 million).
OFZ is asking SE to sell it electricity at SE's export price, which is about one half of the price that OFZ currently pays, the company claiming that this would make it competitive abroad.
ŽSR says higher energy costs will be damaging
Slovak Rail (ŽSR) officials said November 21 that proposed rises in the price of energy will further deepen the company's financial troubles.
Monopoly power supplier Slovenské elektrárne (SE) has proposed a 25% increase in the price of electricity for companies as of January 1, 2001. A 1% rise in the cost of power increases annual expenses in passenger and cargo transport by 12 million crowns ($240,000), company spokesman Miloš Čikovský said.
New nuclear safety centre suggested
The Swiss government is proposing establishment of a Central and Eastern Europe regional centre for nuclear safety (CENC) in Bratislava. The main objective of the centre should be to improve nuclear safety within countries in the region, Slovak Nuclear Supervision Authority (ÚJD) spokesman Mojmir Seliga said November 23.
The centre would prepare and organise seminars and analyses, and manage information from studies and safety analyses of VVER and RBMK-type nuclear power reactors. It would also undertake activities in the licencing of nuclear facilities, safety management, decommissioning of nuclear facilities, and processing or storage of spent nuclear fuel.
Compiled by Ed Holt