17 people were injured in the two seperate incidents (RFE/RL)
3 February 2006 -- Ukrainian emergency officials today said that two separate gas explosions ripped through buildings in Ukraine today, killing eight people and injuring 17.
Shortly after midnight, a blast destroyed an apartment building in the eastern city of Luhansk.
Dmytro Boguslavskiy of the Emergency Situations Ministry said that four people were initially found dead and 10 others hospitalized with injuries. He said rescuers found three additional bodies later in the day.
Hours earlier, a natural gas explosion set fire to an office building in the same city, killing one person and injuring seven. Regional officials say a gas leak caused the blast.
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- Ukraine consumes 70 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas per year. It produces 20 bcm of its own gas, has a signed contract to import 40 bcm from Turkmenistan, and in 2005 was getting 29 bcm from Russia as payment for transit of Russian gas.
- Ukraine sells some 7 bcm of gas a year to the West and places some in underground storage facilities. These facilities can hold 34.5 bcm.
Ukraine is the sixth-largest consumer of gas
in the world and uses more gas than Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Slovakia combined.
- Russia has proven gas reserves of 47 trillion cubic meters (tcm) -- the largest in the world ahead of Iran and Qatar.
Russia sells approximately 160 bcm to Europe each year.
By 2015, Europe is expected to import 300 bcm, or 40 percent of its projected needs from Russia.
Russia's Gazprom is the world's largest gas company.
It is the only company allowed by Russian law to export gas outside the borders of the CIS. It also owns the gas-transportation system and most of the gas fields in Russia.
The Russian state is Gazprom's majority shareholder
, with a 51 percent share. The company's ownership rights changed as of the beginning of 2006, with Gazprom stock being sold on the open market. The Russian state, however, will continue to hold the majority stake.