Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Gas supply to Macedonia halted

Natural gas shipment to Macedonia has been halted due to the dispute between Moscow and Kiev on gas price.

Russia state company Gazprom Tuesday morning halted the shipment to Bulgaria, Greece, Turkey, Romania, Croatia and significantly reduced to Hungary, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Czech Republic.

The transit of the Russian natural gas to the Balkans and Turkey has been halted Tuesday morning at 04:30h, Makpetrol told referring to the GA-MA operator’s press release.

As a result of this the gas shipment will be fully halted in 20 to 24 hours for the work of the consumers in Macedonia, Makpetrol told. The government, Regulatory Commission and natural gas consumers in the country are informed about the newly developed situation.

The largest gas distributor in Macedonia is “Toplifikacija.” Its manager Dimitar Hadzimisev confirmed that the situation of gas supply is serious and the company starting this evening will start using crude oil.

The halt to Russian gas supplies has no serious consequences to Macedonia, as the country generally does not use much gas, Economy Minister Fatmir Besimi stated for local media.

- We have official reports from Ukraine Naftogaz that gas shipment to Macedonia is halted due to misunderstandings with Gazprom Russia and it can have both economic and political implications. We consider that Macedonia uses small quantities of natural gas and the implications will also be small, Besimi said.

He said that industrial capacities and “Toplifikacija” for the time being could start using crude oil as alternative fuel.

- I consider that regular supply of gas should be established whereat in coordination with the colleagues from the region we would point out the economic implications and we call on respect on international conventions for energy transit projects, Economy Minister Fatmir Besimi said.

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