EU and Russia take steps to shield consumers from gas cutoffs

The European Union says gas consumers won’t suffer if Ukraine starts another transit war this winter.

Kiev blocked transit pipelines from Russia last January in a payment row, leading to power cuts across the EU. But Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs says they've agreed ways to avoid Ukraine altogether.

AP: “Our gas storages are 100% full, we've increased all types of switching opportunities for countries which can't cover gas for a very long period. We also have emergency plans if they are needed. On the Russian side I believe there are also plans for increasing supply from other pipelines if there is a problem with one of them. During January there will be more gas flowing through the Yamal Europe pipeline. So it is important that both sides reunite and that the final consumer does not feel threatened at all.”

RT: Are Russian claims that the EU promised to lend Ukraine $1 billion correct?

AP: “It has never been a situation that we will pay for gas consumed in Ukraine. It is not an option for us.”

RT: A Progress Report you signed today calls for moving EU-Russia energy relations to "normal market conditions". What exactly does that mean?

AP: “These are the measures we are looking for. That the market is more investment friendly, there have also been very much appreciated steps of inviting European companies to the Yamal Peninsula, because we believe from the EU side that the involvement of EU companies in upstream and midstream could be very helpful not only for us, but also for Russia.”

Read also – Russia Takes Effort to Prevent Another Gas War with Ukraine