Ageing and poorly-maintained equipment is being blamed for a gas pipeline explosion which severely cut supplies to eastern Europe. It happened in the separatist eastern Transdniestr region of Moldova. Initial inquiries ruled out terrorism, but said the pipe is more than 30 years old and in poor condition.
The disruption cut deliveries of gas to the Balkans by 40 percent; Bulgaria said it would draw on state reserves, but Romania reported no problems. Russian energy giant Gazprom supplies more than a quarter of Europe’s gas needs. It said it would get around the problem by increasing deliveries via the Black Sea, and increase the flow through two other undamaged pipelines in Moldova.