MOSCOW, September 10 (RIA Novosti) - The European Union expects interrupted gas deliveries from Russia and is preparing to manually operate the process of delivery, the Kommersant newspaper reported, with reference to the draft EU report on the energy security issues.
The report suggests short-term measures that should be taken in case of possible interruptions of gas deliveries in winter. According to the newspaper, the document is expected to be discussed at an informal meeting of the EU energy ministers on October 6, with the formulated points to be discussed at an EU leaders summit on October 17-21.
The EU is said to admit that in case of serious problems with gas deliveries, gas from storage facilities will have to be efficiently used. The capacity of the facilities at the moment is about 200 billion cubic meters, which are now only 20 percent full.
The general EU energy strategy is aimed at decreasing the use of gas and switching to the renewable energy sources. Europe also strives to reduce its dependency on take-or-pay pipeline gas, when the consumer has to pay the supplier up to an agreed-upon limit even for the products the consumer does not take.
The document emerges amid the potential troubles with gas transit via Ukraine, which was switched by Russian gas giant Gazprom to a prepayment system over Ukraine’s gas debt that is estimated to be in excess of $5 billion.
Russia and Ukraine conducted talks on the gas situation from April through to June to no avail. Kiev insisted on the gas price decrease but eventually declined the suggested discount. It also refused to clear its gas debt, which forced Gazprom to stop gas deliveries to Ukraine that are not paid for. According to Ukraine’s state-owned Naftogaz, the Ukraine-Russia-European Commission gas talks could resume on September 16.