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* EU much better placed than in 2009 in event of supply
* New infrastructure spending should add to supply security
* Russia, Kiev ties still tense over gas
By Christopher Le Coq and Barbara Lewis
BRUSSELS, Oct 19 Tension between gas transit
nation Ukraine and the European Union over the jailing of former
prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has no impact on the security of
energy supply, EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on
He also reiterated previous comments that the bloc was much
better prepared for any possible disruption of natural gas in
the coming winter from the European Union's dominant supplier
"No, in no way," Oettinger told reporters when asked if the
situation in Ukraine could have any energy impact.
"We think that the Tymoshenko case must be looked at from
the point of view of the rule of law. It is not connected with
gas supply and security of supply."
The European Union has bad memories of the impact of a
pricing row between Ukraine and Russia at the start of 2009,
which resulted in major disruption of natural gas supplies to
Tensions between Ukraine and Russia are still high as Kiev
says a deal brokered in 2009 between Russian Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin and Tymoshenko left it paying an exorbitant price
for Russian gas.
Ukraine wants a new deal and talks are ongoing.
The European Union has sought to nurture ties with both
Russia and Ukraine through tripartite talks.
But the European Union on Tuesday called off a meeting later
this week with Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich over the
imprisonment of his arch rival.
Yanukovich had been scheduled to meet European Commission
President Jose Manuel Barroso and the president of the EU
council of member states, Herman Van Rompuy, on Thursday for
talks aimed at advancing the European integration course of his
If any tension were to boil up into disruption of gas
supply, Oettinger said the bloc was already much better prepared
to cope, and planned investment would improve the situation
"We all learnt our lesson from the turn of the year
2008-2009," Oettinger said.
In particular, he cited an increase in gas storage capacity
and improved interconnections so available supplies can be
distributed more easily.
Oettinger was speaking after the publication of the EU's
latest energy infrastructure package.
The plan seeks to speed through projects of common interest,
such as cross-border pipelines, to help bring in supplies from
sources other than Russia, as well as to build infrastructure
that promotes greener supplies and makes connections to bring
about a single European market.
The EU will adopt a first list of projects of common
interest in July 2013 and they will be eligible for money from
the 9.1 billion euros ($12.45 billion) of EU money set aside for
The funding is in the draft 2014-2020 EU budget, subject to
lengthy debate, and could leverage further cash from private
sources, national governments and new project bonds.
($1 = 0.731 Euros)
(Additional reporting by Richard Balmforth in Kiev; editing by