July 7 (Reuters) - A pipeline that will carry gas into Ukraine via the European Union will start running at full capacity in September, although the gas flow could be interrupted, Bloomberg reported on Monday, citing an interview with the chairman of Slovak gas pipeline operator Eustream.
The Vojany pipeline from Slovakia had been booked to ship 10 billion cubic meters each year until 2019, allowing it to meet about 20 percent of Ukraine’s current demand, the news agency quoted Chairman Tomas Marecek as saying.
Reuters reported earlier this month that the Vojany-Uzhorod pipeline was expected have the capacity to carry 8 billion to 10 billion cubic meters per year by the first quarter of 2015 at the latest, while more limited shipments could start in September.
If Russia interrupts supplies to the EU, Vojany would have no gas flow during September, the chairman told Bloomberg, adding that from the first of October, the pipeline would function at a firm capacity of 6.5 billion cubic meters a year, with the remaining 3.5 billion cubic meters a year interruptible until March 1.
EU member Slovakia and Ukraine signed a deal at the end of April that allows the country to send a limited amount of gas to Ukraine, although still less than Kiev had hoped for to cushion an interruption of Russian supplies.
Russia cut off gas to Ukraine in mid June over a dispute over unpaid bills, saying Kiev had missed a deadline to repay $1.95 billion for previous purchases, and announced the country would only get gas it paid for in advance.
Marecek told Bloomberg that, if the weather remained favorable, Ukraine had a chance of lasting through the winter by possibly importing about 16.5 billion cubic meters a year from the EU, partly by using smaller pipelines from Hungary and Poland.
Eustream could not immediately be reached for a comment outside of regular business hours. (Reporting by Esha Vaish in Bangalore. Editing by Andre Grenon)