Gazprom Limits Polish Gas Supplies as Reverse Flows Halt

Russia’s OAO Gazprom limited natural gas flows to Poland, preventing the European Union member state from supplying Ukraine via so-called reverse flows.

Polskie Gornictwo Naftowe i Gazownictwo SA, or PGNiG, got 20 to 24 percent less fuel than it ordered from Gazprom Export over the past two days and is compensating flows with alternative supply, the company said today in an e-mailed statement. Poland halted gas supply to Ukraine at 3 p.m. Warsaw time today, according to Ukraine’s UkrTransGaz.

Ukraine is seeking to replace some of its Russian gas with fuel from Europe after Gazprom halted its supplies on June 16 in a dispute over debt and prices, echoing spats in 2006 and 2009 that left European customers short of fuel. Gazprom Chief Executive Officer Alexey Miller said in June the company might limit supplies to gas-metering stations where it observed reverse flows.

“It would appear from the outside that stopping reverse flow is something that’s in Gazprom’s interest,” Trevor Sikorski, an analyst at Energy Aspects Ltd. in London, said today by telephone. “Gazprom had said that they were studying any kind of reverse flow and that they would take steps to rectify.”

PGNiG fell 1.2 percent to 4.95 zloty in Warsaw today, the lowest since Sept. 1. Grupa Azoty SA, the biggest Polish chemicals maker, lost 1.5 percent to 69.15 zloty, erasing a gain of as much as 3.8 percent.

Gazprom is doing pre-winter maintenance on pipelines and filling Russian storage sites, which is limiting supply to Poland at the level of the end of last week, according to a company official who declined to be named, citing policy.

Slovak Supply

Russia is reducing flows to the European Union to restrict supply to Ukraine, according to Ihor Prokopiv, the chief executive officer of UkrTransGaz. Poland today halted supply to Ukraine of 4 million cubic meters (140 million cubic feet) a day and may resume them on Sept. 12, while reverse flows from Slovakia aren’t threatened, he said.

Poland increased its nominations for Russian gas via Belarus by 49 percent from last week’s levels in the past two days and asked for an extra 28 percent via Ukraine, according to data from Gaz-System SA, Poland’s gas pipeline operator.

Gazprom hasn’t decreased its supplies to Poland and volumes remain comparable to “previous days” at 23 million cubic meters a day, Gazprom said today in a statement. The company’s supplies to all destinations take into account available resources for exports and volumes needed for domestic storage.

Comparable Flows

Gas flows via Wysokoje, which pumps Russian gas from Belarus to Poland, averaged 74.3 gigawatt-hours (7 million cubic meters) a day in the past two days, the data show. Supply via Drozdowicze, which carries gas via Ukraine into Poland, averaged 77.5 gigawatt-hours, the data show.

Ukraine today received a request from Poland to ship 11 million cubic meters of Russian gas, Prokopiv said today. Gazprom said it was ready to supply just 7 million, he said.

Michael Murphy, a spokesman at RWE AG in Essen, Germany, declined to comment on reverse flows to Ukraine from Poland. RWE started supplies to Ukraine via Poland in April and is shipping fuel from Slovakia to Ukraine.

Poland is able to buy 2 billion cubic meters of gas per year via a link with the Czech Republic and via the Lasow link with Germany. It also can use the Yamal pipeline for reverse flows and import as much as 5.5 billion cubic meters from the West. PGNiG bought 600 million cubic meters of gas from Germany and the Czech Republic in the first half of 2014, compared with 4.5 billion cubic meters imported from Russia.

EON, RWE

“Transmission capacity on links from the Czech Republic and Germany is being used in full,” Gaz-System said today on its website.

Poland got 9.6 billion cubic meters of gas from Russia last year, or 64 percent of its total use, according to BP Plc’s Statistical Review. The country’s storage sites were more than 99 percent full at 2.5 billion cubic meters as of yesterday, according to data from Gas Infrastructure Europe.

Germany’s biggest utility EON SE saw minor supply limitations without any influence on the supply situation, spokesman Adrian Schaffranietz said today by e-mail. RWE’s Czech unit saw no reduction in deliveries to the country, spokesman Martin Chalupsky said by phone.

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