An agreement reached after hours-long negotiations on Wednesday averted a crisis that would have left half of the country without just ahead of the heating season.
The problem was not technical, but political.
A gas transport company from the Serb-majority semi-autonomous Republika Srpska (RS) entity within the country shut off the valves that would have left the other entity, the Federation (FBiH), which is mostly populated by Bosniaks and Croats, without gas within the next 24 hours.
The company, Gas Promet, said it did so because the state company BH Gas had not renewed its contract for the next year.
BH Gas had a contract with Serbijagas, neighbouring Serbia’s gas company, which was responsible for transporting it through Republika Srpska to the Federation. That agreement expired on September 30.
Meanwhile, transport of gas was taken over by Republika Srpska company Gas Promet which insisted the renewal of the contract should be arranged as a deal between two independent states, although Republika Srpska is part of Bosnia.
Leadership in Republika Srpska has for years been working toward elevating the status of their half of the country to that of a separate state, which is unacceptable for the leadership in FBiH.
It was not clear on Wednesday evening who gave in and allowed the agreement to be signed.