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Ukraine Not Satisfied With Capacity of Slovak Gas-Link Proposal

April 15 (Bloomberg) -- Ukraine isn’t satisfied with Slovakia’s proposal for a pipeline link that allows the shipment of natural gas from the west, saying it lacks the needed capacity, a Slovak Economy Ministry spokesman said.

Slovakia offered to ship gas to Ukraine through the Vojany pipeline, which is currently idle and has an annual capacity of as much as 10 billion cubic meters, spokesman Stanislav Jurikovic said after a meeting between Ukrainian Energy Minister Yuri Prodan and his Slovak counterpart Tomas Malatinsky. Ukraine said that amount is not satisfactory.

Ukraine proposed using spare capacity on the main network connecting the two countries, a key transit route for Russian gas to western Europe, Jurikovic said. Such a solution may put at risk supplies for OAO Gazprom’s western clients, he said, adding that negotiations will continue April 28.

“We want to help Ukraine, but at the same time we don’t want to jeopardize flows to western Europe,” Jurikovic said by phone from Velke Kapusany, Slovakia, where the meeting took place. “Using the Vojany pipeline is a solution that is fully in our competence and can be operational in November.”

Ukraine is seeking to reduce its gas dependency on Russia after an 80 percent price increase by Gazprom at a time when the conflict with Russia is escalating. The country owes more than $2.2 billion for gas it imported through March, raising the risk of disrupted flows to Europe, which gets about 15 percent of its supply through Ukraine.

To contact the reporter on this story: Radoslav Tomek in Bratislava, Slovakia at rtomek@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net Michael Winfrey

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