BERLIN, March 8 European Energy Commissioner
Guenther Oettinger does not expect Russia to switch off gas
supplies to Europe over the Ukraine crisis, he told German
magazine Wirtschaftswoche in an interview published on Saturday.
"I don't believe it would be in Russia's interests,"
Oettinger was quoted as saying.
Russian gas export giant Gazprom issued a thinly
veiled warning on Friday that it could stop shipping gas to
Ukraine over unpaid bills. Ukraine is a major gas transit nation
for supplies from Russia to the European Union, which relies on
Russia for about a quarter of its gas.
But Oettinger said a cut-off would not be beneficial for the
company: "Gazprom has an interest in its daily sales revenues so
that investment is worthwhile and turnover is generated."
Oettinger said if no more gas flowed through Ukraine, it
would affect 14 percent of European gas consumption.
In early 2009 Gazprom cut off gas to Ukraine over unpaid
bills, leading to reductions in European supplies during a cold
But Oettinger said Europe was better placed to deal with
such a scenario given that the winter had been mild, gas storage
sites were fuller than a year ago and European Union countries
were now obliged to ensure they had 30 days' worth of supplies.
"We're in a better position than we were five years ago," he