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FACTBOX-Mild winter makes EU less reliant on Russian gas via Ukraine

Source: Reuters - Mon, 24 Feb 2014 12:29 GMT
Author: Reuters
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* Mild winter leaves European inventories unusually full

* Weather outlook for early spring also mild

Feb 24 (Reuters) - A mild winter in Europe means the continent is less reliant on Russian gas pumped through Ukraine than in past years, easing worries that the crisis in Ukraine could hurt supplies.

Russia has made clear it is unhappy with developments in Ukraine, where its friend President Viktor Yanukovich has been toppled. Although there has been no official statement so far suggesting Moscow might cut off gas supplies, it has done so in the past when negotiating prices with Kiev.

Russia is Europe's biggest gas supplier, providing around a quarter of continental demand, around half of which is exported through Ukraine. When Russia has cut gas to Ukraine at times of peak winter demand in the past, Europe has been hit by shortages.

Below are key European gas inventory and weather data points and charts:

* Central Europe, which relies heavily on Russian supplies and was hard hit by previous cuts, has healthy stock levels, with Czech and Slovak inventories filled between 40 and 50 percent and Polish reserves at over 70 percent of capacity.

* Only Hungary's gas stocks look low, at roughly 23 percent of capacity.

* Germany, Europe's biggest gas consumer and Russia's largest customer, has its inventories filled to more than 60 percent of capacity, equivalent to around 60 days of demand.

* France has more than 50 days of consumption left in its inventories.

* Meteorologists expect early spring to continue to bring warmer-than-usual conditions over most of Europe, implying sustained weak gas demand and even higher storage levels.

CHARTS

* EU gas storage levels: http://link.reuters.com/xuc27v

* German storage since 2010: http://link.reuters.com/fyc27v

* Weather outlook: http://link.reuters.com/cyc27v (Reporting by Henning Gloystein in London; Additional reporting by Melissa Massey; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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