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Russian gas continues flowing into Eastern Europe

RIA Novosti

21/01/2009 15:26 WARSAW, January 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russian gas transited via Ukraine continued flowing into Eastern Europe on Wednesday.

Russian energy giant Gazprom and Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz signed on Monday a long-awaited contract on Russian gas supplies to Ukraine for 2009-2019. The first gas started to flow on Tuesday.

"Gas arrived in Poland at 11:25 a.m. Moscow time (08:25 GMT)," a spokeswoman for the Polish energy company PGNiG reported on Wednesday.

Poland annually consumes some 14 billion cu m of natural gas, with 6.2 bcm imported from Russia. The country produces another 4.2 bcm itself and transits 30 bcm of gas to Germany.

Joanna Zakrzewska added that pipeline pressure was still insufficient, and that Poland expected to receive the full volume of Russian gas soon.

Meanwhile, Russian gas supplies have resumed in full to the Czech Republic, a spokesman for Czech RWE Transgas said on Wednesday.

Gas started arriving in the Czech Republic on Tuesday. The resumption of supplies makes possible the restoration of gas transit on to Germany.

"We expect that the Czech Republic will receive 90 million cubic meters of gas today. This means the transit of Russian natural gas to Germany will start," Martin Chalupsky said.

The Czech Republic, which receives 75% of gas from Russia and the other 25% from Norway, has been cut off from Russian gas supplies over the past two weeks. It has so far been consuming its gas reserves and had some gas coming from Germany.

The country was among the first countries to get back Russian gas supplies, along with Hungary, Slovakia and Austria. Gas transit also resumed on Wednesday to Serbia, Poland, France, Romania and Turkey.

The European Commission said Gazprom's customers in Europe would receive a total of 335 million cubic meters of gas on Wednesday.

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