by Staff Writers
Bucharest (AFP) Jan 31, 2012
Freezing temperatures gripping Romania have sent gas consumption to a record high and forced the country to drastically increase gas imports to cope, an official said Tuesday.
"In Bucharest and across the country, consumption has reached a historic high," jumping from 57 million cubic metres per day earlier this month to 69 million on Monday, Economy ministry official Claudiu Stafie told a press conference.
Temperatures plunged to minus 29 degrees Celsius (minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit) in central Romania on Monday night.
Stafie added that imports have risen day after day and were expected to stand at 17.5 million cubic metres Tuesday and hit 20 million on Wednesday.
Romanian daily Ziarul financiar said that more than 80 percent of imports came from Russia's Gazprom.
Romania generally imports from Russia 20 percent of its gas supplies, the balance coming from its own production.
Stafie said that despite difficult circumstances, both households and industrial consumers would be adequately supplied.
But the ministry said in a press release that measures had been taken to limit industrial consumption.
French giant GDF-Suez, which supplies 1.3 million consumers in Romania, confirmed it had increased daily gas imports from 3.0 million cubic metres on January 23 to 11 million on Tuesday.
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China sends team to Sudan, demands release of workers
Beijing (AFP) Jan 31, 2012
China on Tuesday called for the immediate release of 29 Chinese workers held by Sudanese rebels, as it dispatched a team to the African nation to help defuse the situation. "China calls on all sides to remain calm and exercise restraint, ensure the safety of Chinese personnel and quickly release the Chinese personnel out of humanitarian concerns," foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said. ... read more
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