BRUSSELS, July 17 (RIA Novosti) - The European Commission, the executive body of the European Union, plans to present in October the results of stress tests on the vulnerability of its energy systems to a interruptions of gas supplies coming from Russia via Ukraine, EC President José Manuel Barroso said Thursday.
The EU launched stress tests to see how reliable its energy system would be in various scenarios of partial or total interruption of gas supplies coming through Ukraine, Barroso said at a press conference Wednesday, adding that the Commission would be ready to present the report with the test results by October’s European Council meeting.
Europe relies on Russia for one-third of its oil and gas. The fuel currently flows mainly through Ukraine, although Russia is in the process of building a new South Stream pipeline bypassing Ukraine, whose first deliveries are expected in 2016, with a plan for the pipeline to become fully operational in 2018.
Last month, Gazprom was forced to switch to a prepayment system for gas deliveries to Ukraine because of an outstanding $5.3 billion debt. Ukraine's bills to Russia started snowballing in 2013, when the country found itself in a deep political crisis.
After the talks on Kiev’s debt repayment and price revisions mediated by EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger failed, Ukraine refused to honor its unprecedented debt and no longer receives gas from Russia, while daily deliveries of 185 million cubic meters intended for the European market continue to flow through Ukraine.
The EU earlier threatened Russia with sanctions against its energy sector over the situation in Ukraine and began looking for alternative gas sources.