Belarus calls for gas crisis talks

Delegation heads to Moscow after Gazprom threatens to cut supply by 85 per cent.

    About a fifth of Russia's gas exports to Western Europe go through Belarus [EPA]

    European worry

    Russia's gas price disputes with its neighbours became a worry for Europe when its supplies were halted for almost two weeks in the dead of winter in early 2009 while Russia and Ukraine argued over prices and transit terms.

    Any cuts, especially if they affect supply beyond Belarus, could further damage Russia's reputation as a reliable exporter at a time when Gazprom is facing falling demand from crisis-hit Europe and competition from US-produced shale gas.

    A cut in supply to Belarus, however, would not affect Europe as much as the 2009 standoff because only about a fifth of Russia's gas exports to Western Europe go through Belarus with the rest going through Ukraine.

    Seasonal demand is also much lower than in the winter when the 2009 disruption took place.

    Energy experts agree that a worst-case scenario of seriously damaged supplies to Europe is unlikely as Gazprom can re-route gas deliveries to Europe to avoid Belarus.

    Analysts say Poland can import Russian gas via Ukraine and Germany can receive it through Ukraine, Slovakia or the Czech Republic.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    All Hail The Algorithm

    All Hail The Algorithm

    A five-part series exploring the impact of algorithms on our everyday lives.

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    The priceless racism of the Duke of Edinburgh

    Prince Philip has done the world an extraordinary service by exposing the racist hypocrisy of "Western civilisation".

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    China will determine the future of Venezuela

    There are a number of reasons why Beijing continues to back Maduro's government despite suffering financial losses.