Georgians queue for gas in Tbilisi, 22 January (InterPressNews)
26 January 2006 -- Around three million Georgians are without electricity today after heavy snowfalls ruptured power lines delivering electricity from western to eastern regions, including the capital Tbilisi.
The power shortage comes amid a continuing gas shortage following explosions on two of the main natural gas pipelines in southern Russia on 22 January.
Millions of Georgians have been left without heating. In Tbilisi, people were queuing up for gas cylinders and kerosene canisters.
Azerbaijan had stepped up gas supplies to Georgia following the explosions but had to cut back on 25 January for technical reasons.
Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili has accused Russia of being behind the blasts. Russia strongly rejects the allegation.
Because of the energy crisis, Saakashvili has decided to cut short a trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
(AP, Civil Georgia, Interfax)
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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.