Russia pulls the plug on gas supplies to EU as temperatures plunge

Russian natural-gas supplies to Europe were curtailed for a third straight day yesterday as particularly cold winter weather piled  up pressure on Russia's domestic demand.

According to Marlene Holzner, a spokeswoman for European Union Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger, there had been a decrease in gas deliveries. She added Russia was experiencing an extremely cold winter and needed more gas than usual.

She added the situation was not critical as all affected EU members so far were able to meet the supply shortfall by buying gas from neighbours, using storage capacity and importing liquefied natural gas.

The cutbacks come against as a number of European countries experience record-low temperatures prompting additional energy requirement. Imports from Russia, account for roughly 25 per cent of the total EU gas consumption.

The EU yesterday alerted an emergency group of industry, government and energy experts by starting to share information among its members, who would continue to monitor the situation, according to Holzner.

Meanwhile, there was no word on how long the shortfall might be expected to last.