MOSCOW, Sept 10 (Reuters) - Russia has started limiting gas supplies to Poland, disrupting reverse flows to Ukraine, Russia’s RIA news agency quoted the head of Ukraine’s gas transport monopoly Ukrtransgaz as saying on Wednesday.
“Things aren’t going so smoothly. Today Russia started limiting gas supplies to Poland in order to disrupt the reverse (flows) from Poland that we receive. At 2 p.m. (in Ukraine)Poland stopped reverse supplies to Ukraine in the range of 4 million cubic metres,” Ukrtransgaz’s Ihor Prokopiv said in Kiev.
Earlier, a Ukrtransgaz spokesman told Reuters in Kiev that it had seen no decrease in reverse gas supplies from European Union member states over the last two days.
His denial came in response to comments by Poland’s gas monopoly PGNiG that it had been seeing lower gas supplies from Gazprom since Monday.
Russia’s Gazprom declined comment on the report.
Prokopiv said the gas supply from Poland could be resumed in two days. He also said that Kiev saw no threat for gas imports from Slovakia.
Ukraine, which consumes about 50 billion cubic metres (bcm)of gas per year, produces about 20 bcm and imports the rest, mostly from Russia.
It imports some gas from neighbouring European Union countries Poland and Hungary. But the imports from Hungary fell sharply last month and Prokopiv said the decrease had also been caused by Russia.
In September, Ukraine also started gas imports from Slovakia and this new route could potentially meet up to 20 percent of Ukraine’s demand, Prime Minister Arseny Yatseniuk said.
Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan said on Wednesday that Kiev, which currently has 16 bcm in underground storage, planned to collect up to 17.5 bcm by November. (Reporting by Alessandra Prentice, editing by Elizabeth Piper)