Boston, MA -- (ReleaseWire) -- 01/09/2014 -- Developing better gas interconnections with neighbouring EU countries is a priority for Slovakia as net gas imports are expected to cost the country around US$3.25bn in 2013. A recently announced EUR5.9bn EU infrastructure programme, which aims to allow for more flexibility when negotiating gas purchases, may boost supply but the country still remains dependent on Russia and current Europe-Russia talks leave unresolved questions over long-term gas supply. Renewables capacity is rising fast in Slovakia but a fall in nuclear output is set to pave the way for increased gas use. Efforts to raise domestic gas prices are being resisted by the government, which may reduce the attractiveness of the Slovak gas sector to foreign investors.
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The key trends and developments in Slovakia's oil and gas sector are:
- German utility E.ON and France's GDF Suez said in February 2013 that they have agreed to sell their combined 49% stake in Slovak gas group SPP for EUR2.6bn to Czech investment fund Energeticky a Prumyslovy Holding (EPH). The SPP deal had long been expected and was pending the formal agreement of the Slovak government, whose 51% stake will also be sold to EPH. E.ON and GDF Suez had an equal share of their stake.
- The European Commission unveiled a EUR5.85bn funding push to diversify gas and power infrastructure across the continent, as part of its long-term infrastructure vision. Approximately 140 projects were aimed at diversification of gas supplies to significantly increase the gas system's flexibility and resilience. This included work in Slovakia for reconstruction, upgrading, maintenance and capacity increase on the JANAF and Adria pipelines
- E.ON said it would mothball its combined-cycle gas turbine (CCGT) in Malzenice, Slovakia, effective October 2013. It made the decision because the CCGT can no longer operate profitably in the current market environment in Europe, owing in particular to low electricity and carbon prices. The Malzenice CCGT, which has a gross generating capacity of 430MW, entered service in January 2011. In the past two and a half years it has only operated for about 5,600 hours. The unit, whose fuel efficiency exceeds 58%, was planned to operate at least 4,000 to 5,000 hours per year.
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