BUCHAREST (Reuters) - Russian natural-gas supplies to Romania suddenly fell by 30-40 percent late on January 2 as a result of the Russia-Ukraine gas row, the head of Romania's state-controlled pipeline operator Transgaz said.
"Gas inflows from import fell by 30 to 40 percent.... This is because of Ukraine's dispute with Russia," Transgaz director Ioan Rusu told Reuters by telephone.
Russia's gas export monopoly Gazprom cut off its supplies intended for Ukraine after price negotiations broke down, but continued exporting gas supplies to Europe via Ukraine. Gazprom officials accused Ukraine
on January 2 of siphoning off some of the gas intended for Europe, while Ukraine argued that it was dipping into its own reserves to maintain the onward supplies.
Rusu said a usual daily volume of around 10 million cubic meters was reduced by around 3 million from the previous evening.
The official said Romania was prepared for a fall in pressure as it has some 3 billion cubic meters of gas stored in underground deposits. The country would be able to draw up to 25 million cubic meters per day from the deposits.
Romania produces around 65 percent of its annual domestic consumption from local fields and imports around one-third from Russia.
Hungary and Poland have both noted decreases in pressure on their gas pipelines supplied by Russia via Ukraine.