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Russia rules out possibility of gas conflict with Ukraine

September 01, 2011, 14:15 UTC+3
The most important thing is the fulfilment of all commitments by the consumers in accordance with the transit contract
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MOSCOW, September 1 (Itar-Tass) —— There will be no gas conflict with Ukraine. A possibility of the termination of gas transit is out of the question, Russian Minister of Energy Sergey Shmatko told journalists here on Thursday.

“I am sure there are no preconditions for gas conflicts, similar to those which took place in the winter of 2009. The current gas squabble with Ukraine is over the gas price. The most important thing is the fulfilment of all commitments by the consumers in accordance with the transit contract,” Shmatko said.

“Considering the present political discussion and the integration of political processes between Russia, Ukraine and Europe, a possibility of the termination of gas transit is out of the question,” Shmatko stressed in conclusion.

Speaking about the gas squabble, Shmatko had in mind the insistent attempts of Ukraine to have the 2009 gas contracts revised on the grounds that they are unjust, as well as Russia’s statements which point to the need of fulfilling the contracts signed.

Earlier on Thursday Ukrainian Prime Minister Nikolai Azarov said that Ukraine was going to make one more attempt to reach agreement with Russia on the revision of the gas contracts, signed in 2009. “We shall make one more attempt to reach agreement with our Russian colleagues. If the agreement is not reached, it is the leaders refusing to heed our arguments, who will be at fault,” Azarov said.

He criticized Russia’s proposal to make “an integration gas discount to Ukraine.” “Russia tells us: join the Customs Union, and after that you will be given a discount on the gas price. Our stand is as follows: we do not need discounts. We need normal contracts, under which the gas price for us should not be higher than for Germany. Our purpose is not to get a discount, but to conclude new gas contracts,” he said.

President Dmitry Medvedev told journalists on Wednesday that he expected from Ukraine some commercial gas proposals, which would be interesting for Russia. Moscow believes that Ukraine could make a commercial proposal to it, similar to the one made by Belarus, on the selling of its gas transportation network. According to Medvedev, if Ukraine does not come up with proposals, which would be interesting for Russia, Russia will act in accordance with the contracts, which are currently in effect in the gas sphere.

Responding to the question of journalists about a possibility of a ‘gas war’ with Ukraine, Medvedev said: “We have no X-hour with Ukraine. If they do not have proposals, which could be of interest to us, we shall proceed from the assumption that we have a contract which should be fulfilled.”

In the first quarter of 2011 the entry price of Russian gas for Ukraine was 264 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. The figure for the second quarter was 293 dollars, for the third quarter – 313 dollars, and for the fourth quarter – 347 dollars, taking into account the 100-dollar discount in accordance with the Kharkov agreements.

Ukraine insists on the revision of the formula of the Russian gas price, because it believes that the basic rate, on which it is formed, is higher than the one used for Europe. In the opinion of Ukraine, the gas price should be brought down to 240 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters.

On January 19, 2009, Gazprom and Naftogaz Ukrainy signed contracts on gas deliveries and gas transit for a period from 2009 to 2019. Under the contracts, Gazprom and Naftogaz passed over to the gas price setting and the setting of the gas transit tariff fully in accordance with European standards, starting from January 1, 2010. In April 2010 Gazprom and Naftogaz agreed on the discount on the gas price for Ukraine, under which the price will be reduced by 30 per cent, but no more than by 100 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. The discount will be in effect, if gas deliveries amount to 30 billion cubic meters in 2010 and 40 billion cubic meters in the subsequent years.

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