Slovakia’s fears of another gas crisis like the one experienced in January 2009 have been alleviated with the completion of the reverse flow project, which means the country can now get gas from the Baumgarten gas hub in Austria if required.
The project, which means Slovakia can now receive gas from the likes of Norway instead of being totally dependent on supplies from Russia, cost in the range of EUR 4 million. It was equally financed by the company OMV, which has a commercial interest, and the European Commission as part of its endeavour to increase the level of energy security in the EU.
Reverse flow was used as an emergency measure during the crisis, with the foreign partners in Slovak gas utility (E.ON Ruhrgas and GDF Suez) providing the country with much needed supplies at the time via the Czech Republic.
Foreign affairs minister Mikulas Dzurinda has said that the new project will greatly boost the energy security of Slovakia, so now the people (and companies) can feel much safer about their energy needs.
If there is another dispute between Russia and Ukraine, which caused the crisis in 2009, Slovakia will now have more options available, including from the planned Nabucco pipeline, but this project is still not off the ground. The contracts with E.ON Ruhrgas and GDF Suez also provide a safety net of three million cubic meters of natural gas a day for the Slovak market.