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VYBORG, Leningrad region, September 6 (Itar-Tass) — Ukraine loses its exclusive position as the country transiting Russian natural gas to Europe after the launch of the Nord Stream gas pipeline, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
“Ukraine is our age-old and traditional partner,” he told reporters. “As any transit country it always feels temptation of taking advantage of its position.”
“Now this exclusive right disappears. Our relations will become more civilized,” Putin said.
At the meeting with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, he focused on gas cooperation with Ukraine that will get no less than 40 billion cubic meters of Russian gas this year.
“We gave them a 100-dollar discount per 1,000 cubic meters. This means that our subsidy for Ukraine will approximately reach 4 billion cubic meters,” Putin said. “This will be the annual subsidy for such export volume.”
The Russian prime minister visited Portovaya compressor station in the Leningrad region, where he launched the first phase of the Nord Stream pipeline.
Portovaya is a final destination of the Gryazovets-Vyborg pipeline, where it is connected with Nord Stream.
The pipeline’s customer supplies are planned for October-November. The first phase’s annual gas throughput is 27.5 billion cubic meters.
The second phase is expected to be commissioned at the end of 2012. Over 650 kilometers of the pipeline have already been built.
Nord Stream’s designed capacity is 55 billion cubic meters a year.
Nord Stream will allow to diversify export routes, reduce dependence from transit countries and increase reliability of gas exports to a European consumer. The target markets are Germany, Britain, the Netherlands, France, Denmark and other EU member-states.