UPDATE 1-Slovakia to call state of emergency over gas

Tue Jan 6, 2009 1:14pm GMT

(Adds background, statement from gas pipeline operator)

PRAGUE Jan 6 (Reuters) - Slovakia prepared to declare a state of emergency on Tuesday after the natural gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine cut supplies there by 70 percent.

The European Union member's gas pipeline operator said it was still providing customers with normal supplies but it was prepared to declare a state of emergency.

"Under the state of emergency, in current conditions, natural gas supplies to households will be without limits. Other customers must be, according to the situation's development, ready for possible limits to supply," gas supplier SPP said in a statement.

Czech news agency CTK cited Slovak Economy Minister Lubomir Jahnatek as saying Bratislava would declare a state of emergency later on Tuesday.

Shipments of Russian natural gas to Europe through Ukraine dropped significantly on Tuesday due to the price dispute between Moscow and Kiev. (Reporting by Jan Lopatka; Editing by Michael Winfrey)