An amendment to the Energy Act should enable the state to prevent a state of emergency in the gas industry if there is another suspension of supplies of gas from Russia as occurred last month, the director of the Economy Ministry’s energy section, Ján Petrovič, said on February 10.
Speaking at a session of the parliamentary economic policy committee, Petrovič said: “The amendment adjusts the prevention of the state of emergency, and states that if there is a suspension of gas, supplies are guaranteed for another 30 days,” said Petrovič, adding that Slovakia should be prepared to prevent a state of emergency, as relations between Ukraine and Russia cannot be forecast. “Although during a meeting in Brussels both the Russians and Ukrainians provided assurances that a suspension of supplies shouldn’t occur again, it's difficult to forecast anything,” he added.
Opposition SDKÚ MP Stanislav Janis noted during the discussion that no input from experts has been received concerning the amendment, on the basis of which the operators of underground reservoirs of natural gas will have to store supplies sufficient to last at least 30 days. “You have bypassed the comment procedure, and none of the specialists were able to express their opinions. If a crisis begins tomorrow, things won't be any different than during the latest gas crisis, as the reservoirs are filled with gas during summer, not winter,” Janis remarked.
Janis is opposed to rules in the energy sector being made under pressure. The amendment is intended to extend price regulation by regulation of access to the gas reservoirs, and storage of gas in reservoirs. Through the amendment, the Economy Ministry also proposes setting security standards for supplies of gas. The obligation to maintain this standard would have to be kept by the supplier of natural gas or they would face sanctions from the State Energy Inspectorate (part of the Economy Ministry). TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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11. Feb 2009 at 15:00