Ukraine secures more gas from Slovakia to boost energy supplies

KYIV, Feb 3 (Reuters) - Ukraine has struck a deal to import up to around 55% more gas from Slovakia as it strives to secure energy supplies under the threat of a potential invasion by neighbour and one-time major gas provider Russia.

Ukraine has increased its guaranteed capacity for gas imports from Slovakia to 42 million cubic meters (mcm) per day from 27 mcm, the operator of Ukraine’s gas transmission system (GTSOU) said on Thursday.

It said in a statement the new agreement with Slovakia’s Eustream a.s. would run during the current heating period until March 31, 2022.

“This will significantly strengthen our energy security during this period,” it said.

Ukraine needs to import more than 30% of the gas it uses and Slovakia is the main route for supplies.

Ukraine’s average daily gas consumption in January was 127 mcm.

Earlier this week, GTSOU said Ukraine had started to receive gas from western Europe via Hungary, and that this had became a new supply route.

Kyiv stopped importing gas from Russia, its former key supplier, when relations between the countries soured after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the outbreak of war in eastern Ukraine.

Kyiv accuses Moscow of using energy as a weapon against Europe, which Moscow denies. (Reporting by Natalia Zinets Editing by Mark Potter)