Industrial companies that were able to consume natural gas without any restrictions beginning January 19 have restarted production without problems, Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek told TASR newswire on the same day, following a crisis management session at the ministry.
"We've contacted all large industries. The restart of production has been smooth and without problems," the minister told TASR, adding that U.S. Steel Košice should be able to resume full production within 48 hours.
"All three car-makers in Slovakia (Volkswagen, PSA Peugeot-Citroen and Kia) have managed their restart, they haven't had any problems. If their suppliers are ready, they will be able to start full production as early as today," Jahnátek said, as reported by TASR, noting that neither the Slovnaft refinery, nor the Novaky Chemical Works should have any difficulties with resuming production. The Železiarne Podbrezová steelworks is due to restart its operations on January 20.
The reverse flow of gas to Slovakia from the west via the Czech Yamal pipeline is fully functional and working without any technical problems. On both January 18 and 19, 5 million cubic metres of gas flowed to Slovakia from the Czech Republic and the volume is set to increase to 6.25 million cubic metres on January 20. According to Jahnátek, if gas supplies via Ukraine are resumed as promised, the reverse flow of gas from the west will be halted.
The Slovak embassy in Moscow reported that an accord on resuming the transit of Russian gas via Ukraine between Russian gas concern Gazprom and Ukrainian company Naftogaz was to be signed on Monday at 3.30 p.m. Moscow time.
"After the accord is signed, gas supplies should be resumed to their normal extent," Jahnátek told TASR on January 19.