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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

E.ON heads EU monitoring team

e.on9 January 20098 - Upstream OnLine - Germany's E.ON Ruhrgas said it would lead a European Union team to monitor gas exports via Ukraine when supplies to Europe resume after they were halted in a row between Moscow and Kiev. Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom said a deal to monitor gas exports via Ukraine would be signed today, allowing resumption of supplies to Europe. A spokesman for the Essen-based gas distributor said the first experts were starting work in Kiev at 1200 GMT today to watch gas transits on both sides of the Russian-Ukraine border, with E.ON Ruhrgas acting as a co-ordinator. The role of the group would be to supervise the transit flows of Russian gas through Ukraine, the spokesman said. The 20-strong team including four Ruhrgas employees would also include representatives of other big European gas players, including Eni, GDF Suez and the EU Commission. The spokesman stressed the role was not viewed as political. "It is a purely technical mission," he said. The brief was given to E.ON Ruhrgas, Germany's market leading gas supplier, by the EU Commission. E.ON Ruhrgas has a history of partnership with Russian gas suppliers going back to the early 1970s and its former managing director, Burckhard Bergmann, is on Gazprom's board. A statement from E.ON Ruhrgas said all its customers were still being supplied in full. Along with its German sector peers, E.ON got more gas from other origin countries, redirected more Russian gas via Poland instead of Ukraine and drew on underground gas storage. "We can make additional gas available in Europe, in concrete terms to Hungary, Slovakia and Italy. Since earlier today, Serbia is also getting some support shipment from E.ON Ruhrgas," the statement said. It said no Russian gas was arriving in Germany this morning via the Waidhaus border point on the Czech border, which serves as the hub for Russian volumes arriving that way. "Gazprom compensates us for parts of these shortfalls with gas via alternative transport points," said E.ON, alluding to the Yamal pipeline via Belarus and Poland.

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