February 03, 2012 18:41
EC task force to coordinate Russian gas supply to Europe info
BRUSSELS. Feb 3 (Interfax) - The European Commission on Friday established a task force that will coordinate information on supplies of Russian gas to Europe, European Commission spokesperson Marlene Holzner said at a briefing in Brussels.
The group will on a daily basis collect and process information from every participant in the gas supply and consumption process - operators, controllers, consumers - and submit it to the press, society and market participants. The group will also ask the press to keep it informed about the state of Russian gas supplies to EU countries.
For now the project is limited to gathering information as the aim is to understand whether the market is managing to provide the necessary gas to consumers. No emergency meetings are envisaged yet. "When the situation calls for it the group will get together for a meeting," Holzner said in reply to questions.
The EC spokesperson was also asked whether the coordination group would ask for information from Gazprom, which sent a message to the press a few days ago saying they were observing all contractual obligations. Holzner said the EC maintains contact with the Russian government. She said she would not comment on the Gazprom message but said contracts envisage some flexibility if required. Possibly the weather in Russia - at around minus 20 - can be considered such a case, she said.
Holzner could not say whether Gazprom and Russia approved of EC participation in talks with Ukraine on the gas transport system. EC Commissioner for Energy Gunther Oettinger talked to Ukraine about establishing a union for energy infrastructure in Ukraine, she said. "We would like to support Ukraine in this so that other partners join this consortium. And also in view of the fact that Ukraine is part of the energy community, we want to ensure that all relevant laws are being observed," Holzner said.
Returning to the issue of supplying gas to Europe, Holzner said that all gas storage facilities in Europe are sufficiently full although she did not have any precise figures, as there was a second type of storage facility, the so-called strategic storage. The EC is waiting for information from EU countries about their gas reserves and types of storage facilities available.
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