Slovakia and Ukraine agree a gas supply deal

Gas pressure gauge in Kiev Image copyright Getty Images

Slovakia and Ukraine have agreed a deal that will allow gas from Central Europe to reach Ukraine via Slovakia.

Under the deal Slovakia will reinstate a disused pipeline that will be capable of supplying 3 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas a year to Ukraine.

Ukraine has been looking for alternatives to Russian gas, which last year accounted for around a half of its 55bcm consumption.

In April, German energy firm RWE began deliveries of gas via Poland.

Under that deal RWE can supply up to 10bcm of gas a year.

Russia has almost doubled the price of gas for Ukraine, following the toppling of pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovich in February.

Also, Ukraine owes Russian gas firm, Gazprom $2.2bn (£1.3bn) for supplies of gas.

The two nations are in dispute over that debt and Ukrainian officials are concerned that Gazprom could just cut off the nation's supply of gas.

'Energy security'

Ukraine was hoping that Slovakia would be able to open more capacity, by reversing the direction of gas in the main pipeline from Russia to the West.

But Slovakian authorities are concerned that would break the terms of its contract with Gazprom.

"I am convinced that this solution is the first possible and realistic one, and one which does not threaten the energy security of Slovakia and other EU countries," Slovak Economy Minister Tomas Malatinsky said in a statement, on Saturday.

The deal is due to be signed in the Slovakian capital, Bratislava, later on Monday.

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