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Poland struggles to maintain gas supply
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15:11, January 07, 2009

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The Polish government said on Tuesday it will restrict industrial consumption of natural gas to ensure supply for households as the country has been affected by shortfalls in gas flowing from Russia.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Waldemar Pawlak told a press conference that gas supplies from Russia via Ukraine have dropped to record-low levels amid a gas row between the two former Soviet republics.

But most of the gas from Russia to Poland is shipped through pipelines that cross Belarus, and the government will continue to seek an increase in gas imports via Belarus, Pawlak said.

Foreign Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said on the same day that the European Commission should work out a response in case the dispute continues to worsen.

The current situation also made it necessary for Poland to build other gas pipelines, Sikorski said.

Russia and Ukraine failed to reach a deal over the price of gas supplies for 2009. Russian gas giant Gazprom stopped supplies to Ukraine on Jan. 1.

Their dispute worsened Tuesday after Gazprom cut gas supplies to European countries, which gets about a fifth of its needs via pipelines through Ukraine.


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