Ukraine denies block, says Russian gas is flowing (Lead)January 13th, 2009 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS
Kiev, Jan 13 (DPA) Energy officials in Kiev Tuesday said Russian natural gas was slowly moving into Ukraine’s pipeline system, rejecting allegations from Moscow that Ukraine was blocking the flow.”Gas has started to come in (to Ukraine’s pipeline system from Russia),” an official from the Ukrainian natural gas monopoly Naftogaz Ukrainy said. “Pressure in the system is rising.”
The Naftogaz declaration contradicted claims by officials from the Russian natural gas monopoly Gazprom that Ukraine was preventing Russian gas from moving towards Europe.
Russia Tuesday morning ended an embargo on natural gas shipments into Ukraine’s pipeline system by opening the tap into one of Ukraine’s five trans-country transportation mains.
Pressure at the inlet had risen by midday Tuesday to a volume of 76.2 million cubic metres of Russian natural gas being pumped Westward daily, a Naftogaz official said.
Ukrainian energy engineers were according to Ukrainska Pravda magazine likely to struggle to deliver the gas in full volume to its outlet on the Ukraine-Romania border, as Ukraine’s natural gas transportation system is interconnected and raising pressure in a single southern pipeline, without gas moving elsewhere in the system, is technically difficult.
The Kremlin cut off gas shipments to Ukraine last week, citing siphoning by Kiev as grounds. Ukrainian officials have never admitted to stealing Russian gas, saying Russian gas was diverted to maintain pressure in Ukraine’s pipeline system, or taken as payment for shipment of Russian gas through Ukrainian pipelines.
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