20090107 gazprom eu meet 84184326 18
Alexander Medvedev, right, second in charge at Russian gas supplier Gazprom, meets with E.U. officials over the pipeline dispute between Russia and Ukraine. - 


Steve Chiotakis: Russian deliveries of natural gas supplies to Europe has almost completely stopped. Natural gas, of course, is used for heat, and fuel shortages are being reported at a time when it's really cold on the continent. It's all a part of that ongoing feud between Russia's gas monopoly, Gazprom, and Ukraine.

Stephen Beard joins us from London this morning. Stephen, I guess the question for us here in the United States is, will this affect our supply, the price that we pay here?

Stephen Beard: It seems very unlikely. The U.S. gets the vast bulk of its natural gas from its own territory and from Canada. Only a tiny fraction is imported in liquefied form from abroad.

Chiotakis: This has been quite a back and forth, Stephen. The Russians and the Ukrainians have been blaming one other for stopping the flow of gas to Europe. Who's telling the truth here?

Beard: It's impossible to say. What we do know is that on January 1, the Russians cut off supplies to the Ukraine. But what's been happening since then really is a matter of claim and counter-claim. The Ukrainians say the Russians have turned off the tap for all gas crossing Ukraine. The Russians, however, say, no, it's the Ukrainians who have turned off the taps in an attempt to drag the European Union into the dispute.

Chiotakis: And Europe gets a lot of its natural gas from Russia, most of it through Ukraine. What are they saying about this crisis?

Beard: They are very mad. The European Commission says this is completely unacceptable. Russian and Ukrainian officials are going to meet in Moscow tomorrow and E.U. officials will be going along in an attempt to really get both sides to resolve the dispute.

Chiotakis: Stephen Beard, joining us from London. Stephen, thank you.

Beard: OK, Steve.