Slovakia managed the winter heating season without restricting supplies of natural gas, and it will start filling its storage tanks for the next winter season as of Friday (April 1), said Economy Minister Richard Sulik on Thursday. Supplies of liquefied natural gas should partly help to reduce Slovakia's energy dependence on Russia. After a trial delivery via the first tanker for the state-run gas utility SPP in early March, another delivery is being prepared, and Slovakia plans to intensify LNG supplies. According to Sulik, the Economy Ministry is monitoring the situation in the energy sector on a daily basis. "Although gas and oil are currently flowing from Russia in line with contractual terms, we're intensively seeking ways to reduce energy dependence on that country," stated the ministry.
In addition to supplies of liquefied gas by tankers, the completion of an inter-connecting pipeline with Poland is important for diversifying gas sources. "It's a north-south gas inter-connection for Europe that will enable gas supplies from Norway and LNG gas supplies from all over the world via terminals in Poland in the near future, said Sulik.
Sulik also reacted to Russian President Vladimir Putin's demand for "enemy countries", including Slovakia, to pay for oil and gas supplies with roubles. "SPP paid the March invoice in euros, as was agreed in the contract," he said, adding that Slovakia fully supports joint procedures by EU-member states, including joint purchases of gas for the whole Union.
Slovakia currently has enough oil reserves for 120 days, with the law setting such supplies at a minimum of 90 days. Oil-refiner Slovnaft and oil-transport operator Transpetrol have additional reserves. If oil supplies from Russia are cut off suddenly, Sulik has a written promise from Slovnaft that it will import the necessary oil via the Adria pipeline.