KIEV, January 31. /TASS/. Kiev can ensure uninterrupted gas supplies to its consumers in the European Union (EU) due to sufficient reserves in the storage facilities aimed for local needs, spokesman for Ukraine's gas pipeline operator Ukrtransgaz Maxim Bilyavsky told TASS when asked to give comments regarding Gazprom CEO Aleksei Miller’s interview with Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
"Ukrainian storages have enough gas to cover the needs of all categories of local consumers, there is even surplus capacity," he said, adding that the country "fulfills requests on gas transit to Europe in full and in a timely manner."
According to Bilyavsky, Ukraine subsidized European consumers "providing 10 mln cubic meters of its own resources due to Gazprom’s gas shortfall" over the past 24 hours.
Ukrtransgaz spokesman said that he considers "another wave of concern" of Gazprom’s top management regarding potential risks for Russian gas transit to Europe groundless, and added that more than 300 mln cubic meters of gas is being transported to Europe daily, with January results set "to hit the record 8.5-8.7 bln cubic meters."
Aleksei Miller told Rossiyskaya Gazeta that Russia’s gas transit through Europe via Ukraine will be at risk if the weather remains cold. The country’s storage capacity may not be sufficient for Ukraine to cover its local demands, he said. "Whether our Ukrainian colleagues will be able to fulfill their commitments on reliable transit of Russian gas aimed for European consumers, remains to be seen," Miller said.
Earlier head of Gazprom said that the company recorded a decrease of gas reserves in Ukrainian underground storage facilities. According to Miller, daily withdrawal from storages has risen by more than 40% since January 15.
As of January 31, Ukraine’s gas reserves in underground storages has dropped to 10.054 bln cubic meters, with daily withdrawal amounting to almost 62 mln cubic meters, Ukrtransgaz said. The company said it can engage extra imports in case of a cold snap, while gas reserves in underground storages are not expected to drop below 8 bln cubic meters by the end of the heating season.