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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Gas Supply Unaffected After Blast

KIEV -- A blast damaged a major gas pipeline running through Ukraine, the second such explosion this year, but supplies to Europe continue to run smoothly, the pipeline's operator said Friday.

The pipeline takes Gazprom gas from the Arctic Urengoi gas field, through the Urals and to Ukraine's border with Slovakia. Gazprom supplies one-quarter of Europe's needs, 80 percent of which goes via Ukraine.

Pipeline operator Ukrtransgaz said an explosion occurred Thursday evening near a compression station in central Ukraine, on the Urengoi-Pomary-Uzhgorod link.

"The incident did not affect transport of natural gas to European countries," the company said in a statement.

"To secure the necessary volumes of transit during repair work, we have increased the volume of gas taken from underground storage." It said it was investigating the cause of the blast.

Ukrainian state-owned energy firm Naftogaz said gas had been switched to the parallel Progress pipeline immediately after the blast and the damaged section had been closed.

"We did not lose any volumes of Russian transit. We lost only gas in the destroyed parts of the pipeline," Naftogaz spokesman Olexiy Fyodorov said.

The Ukrainian Energy Ministry said the damaged pipeline could be in operation again within two weeks.