(Easybourse) Enough natural gas is stored in Ukraine to satisfy a spike in West Europe's winter demands, senior European Commission officials said Friday.

Ukrainian storage facilities hold between 24 and 25 billion cubic meters of gas, the officials said.
The officials aren't sure how much the storage sites stocked last winter, but they said Ukrainian and Russian gas supply companies have reassured them that last year's problems during a frigid winter will not be repeated.

The storage sites are replenished in the summer from Russian gas sources.

We are "very thankful to the Ukrainian authorities," said E.U. spokesman Ferran Tarradellas Espuny. "We have extra reassurance that there will be no problem next winter."

Top European Union energy officials and utilities executives met with their Russian and Ukrainian counterparts to discuss natural gas supplies for the coming winter.

The meeting was prompted by a crisis last winter, when several E.U. countries faced supply shortages. In January, Russian natural gas giant OAO Gazprom (GSPBEX.RS) shut off its main pipeline through Ukraine, claiming gas was being siphoned off illegally.

The Commission has called for more transparency in the E.U.'s dealings with Russian and Ukrainian gas suppliers. It noted Friday that the U.K., which suffered supply shortages and price hikes last winter, will benefit this winter from new natural gas pipelines from the Netherlands and Norway.


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