MOSCOW, August 19 (Itar-Tass) —— The volume of consumption of Russian gas in Europe in the fist half of 2011 increased by 20 percent, Russian Minister of Energy Sergei Shmatko said in an interview with the TV channel Russia Today (RT).
According to Shmatko, “the volume of consumption of Russian gas in Europe is growing.” “I understand it so that in the first half of this year supplies were increased by approximately 20 percent,” the minister said. “The spot market is developing rather quickly again in Europe. The preservation of long-term supplies is one of the main things for us,” he added.
As Shmatko said, the putting into operation of the Northern Stream capacity is not directly connected with the increase of supplies. “These are rather great volumes: the rated capacity of the Northern Stream after the commissioning of the second branch-line will be equal to 55 billion cubic metres – – a little bit more than one third of supplies of Russian gas to Europe,” Shmatko explained. “I think that it will replace to some degree the existing supplies which go through the gas transport system of Ukraine,” the minister stressed. “That was our aim as well because we always wanted to avoid transit risks.”