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KIEV, September 24 (Itar-Tass) - Ukraine may source reverse gas supplies through Slovakia if Slovakia reaches agreement with its own supplier, Russia’s Gazprom, the EU ambassador in Kiev, Jan Tombinski, told reporters on Tuesday.
The deputy chief executive of Ukraine’s state-run energy firm Naftogaz Ukrainy, Vadim Chuprun, told journalists that the technical issue of gas supplies through Slovakia “has been finalised”.
Gas supplies through Slovakia are assessed as a source attractive for Ukraine. The two countries are connected by four gas pipelines. If Ukraine used only one, it would receive up to 10 billion cubic meters a year.
Last autumn, Ukraine began importing fuel in a reverse deal with Poland. This year, Hungary became a supplier in a search for new routes rated a priority for the Ukrainian government’s diversification policy.
Vadim Chuprun also said that Ukrainian natural gas reserves may cover up to 70 percent of national energy consumption by the end of 2015, but it does not seem possible yet to entirely stop imports,
The country hoped to increase domestic gas production by exploring the Black and Azov Seas offshore along with inshore supplies. Naftogaz was planning to buy two more facilities that permit deep-water offshore gas production and high hopes rested upon shale gas, said Chuprun.
Chuprun said Kiev would continue looking for alternative external supply routes, namely through the Slovak Republic's potential to deliver Ukraine with up to 10 bln cubic metres of fuel anually. Chuprun said that while technical issues had been solved, supplies had not started yet “for other reasons”.
Ukraine would keep cutting the volume of gas purchased in the Russian Federation given high prices. Not more than 18 billion cubic metres would be bought from Russia in 2014 though Kiev did not plan to completely reject Russian gas supplies and hoped to address prices at the negotiating table.