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Russia-Ukraine gas dispute could deliver new gas crisis to Slovakia

The Slovak Economy Ministry confirmed on June 22 that Slovakia may well face another natural gas crisis if Russia cuts all Europe-bound gas supplies via what it sees as its undisciplined customer Ukraine, the SITA newswire reported. The ministry said that Ukraine might fail to meet its payment deal from January 2009 which has a deadline of early July.

The Slovak Economy Ministry confirmed on June 22 that Slovakia may well face another natural gas crisis if Russia cuts all Europe-bound gas supplies via what it sees as its undisciplined customer Ukraine, the SITA newswire reported. The ministry said that Ukraine might fail to meet its payment deal from January 2009 which has a deadline of early July.

Slovakia is one of only a few European countries buying 100 percent of its natural gas from Russia; unlike, for example, Germany, which gets some 40 percent. The lack of natural gas, according to Economy Minister Ľubomír Jahnátek, could, among other things, affect the chemical industry, which uses this as raw material, the TASR newswire wrote.

This is not the first time that the Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz could fail to pay for its gas supplies which has previously lead to three occasions in which Russia shut off gas supplies.

Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico assured Slovak customers that the gas utility Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) would not restrict its natural gas supplies. He stressed, as quoted by SITA, that a potential halt in natural gas supplies will have negative impact on neither Slovak households nor industry.

Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajčák said that the European Union-member countries would now be expected to produce their crisis strategies. The country's natural gas pipeline and distributor, SPP, said its range of sources has been diversified and in early July the utility will have as much gas in storage tanks as ahead of winter. SITA, TASR

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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