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Romania And Poland Reconsider Energy Policies

Coal and hydroelectric power are being considered as alternatives to natural gas from Russia (AFP) 3 January 2006 -- Two European states said today they are looking for alternatives to Russian energy in the wake of the Russia-Ukraine gas crisis.

Poland's Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz said on Polish public radio that "we have begun talks with northern countries and also countries further east than Russia." He did not name the countries.

Polish officials have said supplies of Russian gas to Poland fell by up to 50 percent at the peak of Moscow's cut-off of gas to Ukraine on 1 January. Poland gets its Russian gas via a pipeline through Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Romania said it is considering switching back to coal and building new hydroelectric plants as an alternative to what it says is increasingly costly Russian gas.

Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu said that "with the higher cost of gas and oil nowadays, it may be feasible to return to coal to reduce the costs of producing electricity and heat." He also said old projects to build two large hydroelectric plants on the Danube River could be revived.

Romania began paying about $280 per 1,000 cubic meters for Russian gas as of 1 January. Russian gas, via Ukraine, accounts for about 40 percent of Romania’s gas.

Romania reported a 30 percent drop in Russian gas supplies yesterday before Moscow reversed its reduction in gas supplies to Ukraine.


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