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KIEV, May 15 (Itar-Tass) - Ukraine will take one more step towards diversification of its gas import routes starting to test reverse supplies through Slovakia on Wednesday.
Ukraine’s pipeline and gas storage facilities operator Ukrtransgaz proposed Slovakia to engage one of the four interstate gas pipelines linking the two countries.
Energy and Coal Industry Minister Eduard Stavitsky said on Monday reverse gas imports in a test mode may last around 7-10 days. As a result the country “will get an opportunity to attract gas deliveries through this route, which will in general cut prices on our gas market.”
Ukrtransgaz forecasts that using this pipeline Ukraine will be able to receive up to 10 billion cubic meters a year. Ukraine’s Energy and Coal Industry Ministry makes a more optimistic forecast - up to 20 billion cubic meters a year.
Germany’s RWE Supply&Trading is just the only source of European gas to be pumped along this route. Ukraine’s Naftogaz has an effective contract for the supply of 10 billion cubic meters with this biggest trader, the company’s deputy CEO, Vadim Chuprun, said.
From November 2012 under the contract with RWE Ukraine has been importing gas through the territory of Poland and from March 2013 - through the territory of Hungary. Gas through these countries’ territories is supplied in rather modest volumes, which do not exceed 3-5 million cubic meters per day.
Chuprun said this year Ukraine plans to conclude contracts on the supply of up to 7 billion cubic meters from Europe through Hungary and Slovakia, but physically it may get up to 1 billion cubic meters of “reverse gas” by 2014.
Ukraine denies Gazprom’s accusations of illegal reverse supplies of Russian gas.
“We have reverse supplies running through pipelines. We’ve bought out capacities and have supply schedules. Since November (2012) we’ve been physically receiving gas,” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Boiko told a TV channel.
Kiev pins great hopes on gas imports through Slovakia’s territory, as a rather well developed network of Ukrainian and Slovakian pipelines opens opportunities for increasing gas supplies to Ukraine.
EU Energy Commissioner Guenter Oettinger assured Ukraine saying that reverse gas supplies through Slovakia on a commercial scale would be possible already by the end of 2013.
Ukraine’s efforts towards the search of alternative gas supply routes should become a weighty argument at the gas talks between Kiev and Moscow that have yielded no results so far.
At the same time the statements made by Ukrainian officials on serious savings in domestic gas consumption have been given no proof.
Stavitsky said in 2013 the import of energy supplies from all sources may reach from 30 billion cubic meters to 32.5 billion cubic meters, which in fact slightly differs from gas imports in 2012 - around 32.9 billion cubic meters.