The New Year season is usually seen as a time of holidays for most Europeans. However, in recent years, this period has become notorious for the regular gas disputes between Russia and the Ukraine. Currently, 80% of Russian gas exports to Europe are delivered via the Ukraine, reports German Broadcaster Deutsche Wella. Such disputes have led, at times, to disruptions to gas deliveries reaching not only the Ukraine but the 18 European states that use the same pipeline system to import gas from Russia. In 2008 European gas consumption was some 517 billion cubic metres, reports Eurogas.

In the latest dispute, in January 2009, the countries that were most affected were Bulgaria, Moldova and Slovakia, they were forced to implement emergency measures.  It was estimated by the European Commission at the time, that the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, that were affected by the dispute, experienced shortages of around 300 mcm/day. For details of how countries were affected by gas supply disruption in_January_2009.

What Was The Problem?

Even at times of disruption, Europe tends to have an overall surplus of gas, observes Dr. Colin Lyle of the European Federation of Gas Traders. The main problem was one of lack of sufficient interconnected infrastructural capacity and a failure to make such capacity available to the market. There are a number of reasons for Europe’s disappointing state of preparedness. In part, it was a failure of governments and operators to have policies in place to deal with the political, market, contractual and infrastructural issues that arose when dealing with the crisis.


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