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VIENNA, June 24. /ITAR-TASS/. If Ukraine begins to siphon off gas, Gazprom will increase traffic via Nord Stream and the Yamal-Europe route, Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller told a news conference at ITAR-TASS on Tuesday.
“If we see unauthorized tapping by Ukraine, we shall increase supplies via Nord Stream, and use the Yamal-Europe route to capacity,” he said.
“At present, we are also considering the possibility of pumping gas into Europe’s underground gas storages at Gazprom’s expense in order to avoid tensions that may occur during wintertime,” Miller said.
Russia’s stance at gas talks with Ukraine remains unchanged - Ukraine “must demonstrate progress in payments for April and May,” Russian Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller said on Tuesday.
“Our position at talks is very simple and laconic — we cannot let the talks lead to the situation in which Ukraine’s debt to Russia, to Gazprom, would keep growing all the time,” Miller told reporters, noting that Russia’s European partners shared that approach.
Ukraine’s debt for November, December stands at $1.451 billion, he reminded reporters.
Russia’s natural gas is piped across Ukraine in contracted volumes, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said on Tuesday, adding that over the past 24 hours, about 214 million cubic meters of gas had been transported via Ukraine, and about 185 million cubic meters a day last week. Therefore, daily gas transit increased by 15%.
Some reports said earlier that the Nord Stream gas pipeline should suspend its operation due to planned technical maintenance starting on Tuesday.
Gazprom switched Ukraine to a prepayment regime from June 16 over Ukraine’s failure to repay its gas debt and suspended gas deliveries to the ex-Soviet republic. The regime of advance payments envisages the supply of only pre-paid gas volumes. Gas siphoning reduces gas supplies bound for Europe.
Germany’s Wintershall CEO Rainer Seele told ITAR-TASS on Monday that his company, the importer of Russian natural gas to Germany, had received the European Commission’s guarantees that in the event of transit problems in Ukraine, the EC would provide broader access to the OPAL pipeline running along the German eastern border.
According to Seele, there is enough gas in European storage facilities to avoid negative consequences during winter should there be problems with the transit of Russian natural gas through Ukraine.