Thu Feb 2, 2012
WRAPUP 1-Europe readier than before as Russia gas flows slow
* Supply cuts affect Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Austria
* Echoes of 2009'S Russia-Ukraine gas dispute emerge
* Slovakia reports 30 percent cut in gas supply
* German utility says supplies ample
Several European countries reported reduced flows of Russian gas on Thursday, as bitter cold caused soaring demand, and although overall supplies were adequate the issue had echoes of a 2009 crisis caused by tensions between Moscow and Ukraine.
The European Union's executive Commission has said supplies to Italy via the Austrian border are down by a tenth. Poland reported a 7 percent decline, and Slovakia said it suffered a 30 percent drop.
Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom voiced surprise, saying it was sending as much gas as it could spare to Europe and that Ukraine, across which the fuel flows through pipelines, must be taking more than its contracted share.
Ukraine flatly rejected the suggestion, saying it was only taking its allocated share.