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MOSCOW, November 9. /TASS/. Russia’s Energy Minister Alexander Novak sees certain risks for the normal transit of gas through Ukraine during the coming winter.
"We do see the risks [for gas transit through Ukraine], because the amount of gas in the underground gasholders is not enough, while the temperatures are below the average. Risks do exist," Novak told the media.
Earlier, he said that Ukraine would have to store an extra 1.5-2 billion cubic meters of gas to live through the winter without problems. Novak pointed out that the current contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz allowed for meeting the Ukrainian customers’ entire demand for gas.
Before that the spokesman for the operator of Ukraine’s gas pipeline system, Ukrtransgaz, Maksim Belyavsky, said that the pumping of gas into the country’s underground storages had been completed. According to his statistics, there are 14.7 billion cubic meters of gas in store. The gas storages are filled to less than half (48%) of their capacity. Naftogaz CEO Andrey Kobolev sees no reason for an upward revision of gas reserve plans, though. On November 1 Ukraine was to have 15.1 billion cubic meters of gas in store.
In the meantime, Novak suspects that Kiev may experience gas shortages before the winter is over. At least another 2 billion cubic meters should be pumped in. In his opinion, the current contract between Gazprom and Naftogaz will be able to provide the whole amount of gas Ukrainian consumers may need.
"The question of financial resources - the transfer of cash on prepayment terms - remains open," he said.