Economy minister: A gas crisis may come after the New Year

Slovakia will probably have to use all measures possible to secure supplies.

Gas storage facility in Gajary.Gas storage facility in Gajary. (Source: Sme)

A gas crisis similar to 2009, when Slovakia stopped receiving supplies from Russia through Ukraine for several weeks, may repeat after the New Year.

“It’s more probable than improbable,” said Economy Minister Peter Žiga after the December 11 government session, as quoted by the TASR newswire.

The reason is that the current contract on natural gas supplies between Russia and Ukraine signed during the 2009 gas crisis expires in late 2019.

Using all measures possible

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Slovakia is preparing for the situation, the minister continued. He plans to meet with respective companies, namely the Slovenský Plynárenský Priemysel (SPP) gas utility company, SPP-Distribúcia and Nafta, to discuss the situation.

The meeting between Ukrainian and Russian representatives at the Normandy Format in Paris does not imply that the new contract may be signed or that the existing one may be prolonged.

“As I currently see it, we’re closer to the crisis, meaning Russians will stop the gas supplies through Ukraine, so we’ll have to use all the measures we’ve been working on for 10 years,” Žiga continued, as quoted by TASR.

What are Slovakia's possibilities?

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Thenatural gas supplies to Slovak households and companies should be secured mostly based on the agreements with gas suppliers active on the Slovak market. The country can also rely on gas stored in the underground reservoirs operated by Nafta, Pozagas and SPP Storage companies. Their capacity is as high as 4.66 billion cubic metres, the SITA newswire reported.

Moreover, there are several new gas connections with neighbouring countries established in the past 10 years, including the reverse gas flows from the Czech Republic or Austria, and a gas pipeline between Slovakia and Hungary put into operation in 2015.

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