In a live television broadcast on 26 January, Saakashvili said the current energy crisis was a test for his country.
On 22 January, explosions at pipelines just inside Russia cut off supplies of Russian natural gas to Georgia. Within hours, an explosion cut the main power line from Russia, and on 26 January heavy snows severed another key electricity power line within Georgia.
Russian officials today said Russia will start pumping gas to Georgia on 28 January.
Georgian officials have accused Moscow of deliberately cutting gas supplies to put pressure on Georgia in an unusually harsh winter. Russia categorically denied the accusations, and blamed Chechen-linked militants for the explosions.
The militants themselves deny any link to the blasts.
(Civil Georgia, Interfax, Reuters, AFP)
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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.