Natural Gas Producer, OA Gazprom, Citing Cold Snap, May Cut Supplies in Russia

Citing a cold snap, OAO Gazprom, the world's biggest natural gas producer, may cut supplies to power plants in central and western Russia. Power plants will have to use up to 150,000 tons of more-expensive fuel oil.

Edited From Bloomberg News

OAO Gazprom, the world's biggest natural gas producer, may cut supplies to power plants in central and western Russia by as much as half because of a nationwide cold snap.

``A number of power stations in the European part of Russia have gotten notification about the possible limits,'' said Tatiana Milyaeva, a spokeswoman for RAO Unified Energy System, the national power utility, in a telephone interview today from Moscow.

Contracts between Gazprom and Unified Energy's power stations, including its Moscow plants, allow for the 50 percent cut in extreme cold weather because of ``technical issues of transporting gas in low temperatures,'' she said.

Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov was unavailable for comment.

The power plants will have to use up to 150,000 tons of more-expensive fuel oil to continue working if the limits are imposed, Milyaeva said. They have enough fuel oil in reserve, she said, without saying how long the reserves would last.

``It will lead to an increase in the cost of electricity,'' she said. ``The companies will have to sharply increase purchases of fuel oil to replenish reserves.''

Unified Energy System planned possible restrictions on power usage by non-essential customers in the city and region of Moscow yesterday, affecting as much as 2 percent of consumption in the area, Milyaeva said yesterday.

The Moscow energy grid passed today's morning peak hours from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. without any failures or accidents, she said. The peak reached 14,500 megawatts this morning, compared with a record 15,319 megawatts during the evening peak hours of 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. yesterday, she said.

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