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Germany reports first effects of gas spat

BERLIN, January 6 – Germany reported on Tuesday the first effects from Russia and Ukraine\’s six-day-old gas dispute with the country\’s second-biggest importer saying pressure in its pipelines had fallen.

Wingas, a joint venture between BASF\’s Wintershall unit and Russian state-owned gas firm Gazprom, said it was too early to give details but a spokesman said it was receiving less gas than it had ordered.

There would no effect on Wingas\’s customers since the majority of the gas it imports from Russia comes via Belarus and Poland. In 2007 the firm imported 15.2 billion cubic metres of gas, 60 percent of which came from Russia.

Germany, where temperatures reached minus 26 Celsius (minus 14.8 Fahrenheit) overnight, gets 37 percent of its gas imports from Russia, either via Ukraine or Belarus. Most of the rest comes from Norway and the Netherlands.

Russia cut its gas supply to Ukraine\’s domestic market on January 1 as part of a bitter payment dispute and has since accused Ukraine of illegally removing gas transiting its country for clients further downstream in Europe.

Worst hit were countries in south-eastern Europe, with officials in Sofia reporting that deliveries of Russian gas to Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia and Turkey had been halted overnight.

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