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MOSCOW, March 31, /ITAR-TASS/. The price for Russian gas for Ukraine is unlikely to exceed 380-390 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic metres from April 1, 2014, with a discount under the Kharkov agreements still in place, Ukrainian energy expert Valentin Zemlyansky, a former spokesman of the national energy company Naftogaz Ukrainy, told Itar-Tass on Monday.
According to Zemlyansky, Ukraine is unlikely to have imported more than two billion cubic metres of Russian gas in March. So, in his words, about 537 million U.S. dollars might have been added to its 1.7-billion U.S. dollar debt.
In late 2013, Russia’s gas utility Gazprom reduced gas price for Naftogaz by 33 percent to 268.5 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic metres. Before that, Ukraine had bought Russian gas at a price of about 400 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic metres.
The new discount was effective only in the first quarter of 2014, since Naftogaz failed to pay for the February gas supplies in due time. In March, Gazprom said the discounted price would not be extended to the second quarter of the year and the only privilege Naftogaz could hope for was Gazprom’s refraining from imposing advance payment for gas supplies.
The Kharkov agreements are in the competence of the government, since the 100-U.S. dollar discount was offered to Naftogaz as an advance payment for the stay of the Russian Black Sea Fleet in Ukraine starting from May 28, 2017 under the agreement between the Russian and Ukrainian governments. A government resolution granted Gazprom a customs tax discount of 100 U.S. dollars per 1,000 cubic metres.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s parliament-appointed Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuri Prodan has already warned the European Commission of a possible ‘gas war’ like the one back in 2009, if the European Union did not ensure natural gas supplies to Ukraine.