Russian natural gas deliveries to Romania dropped by 30% to 40% starting Friday night as the dispute between Russia and Ukraine over Kiev's unpaid debt to Moscow unfolded. The situation may lust until Sunday, January 4, the head of Romanian gas transport company Transgaz Ioan Rusu told Romanian news agency NewsIn.

For the time being, the diminishing gas imports from Russia has not been felt by business or private consumers as the difference was covered from domestic resources.

The volume of Romania's daily natural gas imports usually amounts to 10 million cubic meters and it dropped by 3 million cubic meters on Friday evening, Rusu said. He assured Romania was ready to deal with a drop in gas deliveries as it can use its own reserves.

Romanian Economy minister Adriean Videanu assured on Saturday that Romania did not have any problem with natural gas deliveries from Russia. He made the statement following an informal reunion on the issue at ministry level.

For his part, Marius Stroia, head of the national body monitoring natural gas imports DNGN, said that a drop in deliveries to Romania was announced starting Friday 6 p.m..

He also said that starting Monday Romanian oil company Petrom would close the Doljchim plant. Adriean Videanu said the decision in this regard had exclusively economic reasons and was not connected with the national natural gas transport system.

According to Reuters, Gazprom said on Friday that some countries in the Balkans informed the Russian company that they were facing a drop in natural gas deliveries while Hungary and Poland said pipeline pressure was dropping in their cases.

Reuters also reported on Saturday that most countries having problems with natural gas deliveries because of the Russia-Ukraine disputes are clients of RosUkrEnergo, an intermediary that has sparked a lot of controversies since its creation. Poland, Romania and Hungary receive natural gas from the Swiss-based company, not from Gazprom, as in the case of Germany.

Founded in 2004, RosUkrEnergo has become the exclusive intermediary for Ukraine natural gas imports. Gazprom claims it needs such an intermediary to manage complicated, multi-source deliveries.