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Russia-EU energy talks delayed to next week — Russia energy ministry

July 17, 2014, 13:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak said the parties plan to discuss the process
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Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak


MOSCOW, July 17./ITAR-TASS/. Bilateral talks between Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak and EU Energy Commissioner Guenther Oettinger will be delayed to next week, Russia’s Energy Ministry stated on Thursday.

“Due to an intensive agenda by European Commissioner for Energy Guenther Oettinger, the Russia-EU energy talks will be delayed to next week. The date and place of the talks are being specified,” the ministry said.

According to ITAR-TASS reports, the date of the talks has not been specified yet. The meeting is likely to be held in Moscow.

Answering a question if the talks focus on the South Stream project, Novak said Russia intends to discuss it.

“We’re planning to discuss the project,” the minister said.

After the talks with the Ukrainian parliament-appointed Energy Minister, Yuriy Prodan, Novak said the European Commission hoped to resume the gas talks within the Russia-EU-Ukraine format till the end of July.

Oettinger did not specify if Ukraine is ready to start paying off its gas debt to Russian state-controlled energy giant Gazprom that Moscow had been expecting during six rounds of three-party talks from May 2 to June 16, when they were deadlocked.

In turn, Prodan then told Russian journalists that Ukraine “is ready to discuss at the talks only an intermediate package proposal of the European Commission” on the price and debt settlement, saying Kiev’s position regarding the debt remained unchanged.

Infographics Russian gas in Europe Russian gas in Europe
One-third of gas consumed in EU comes from Russia. Infographics ITAR-TASS
Gas supplies to Ukraine were halted, but transit volumes were reportedly passing via Ukraine to Europe in line with the schedule.

Gazprom said June 16 that Naftogaz’s past due debt for supplied Russian gas totals $4.458 billion: $1.451 billion for November-December 2013 and $3.007 billion for April-May 2014.

Russia recently substantially raised the gas price for Ukraine to $485.5 per 1,000 cubic meters, but Ukraine has insisted the price should be lowered to that of this year’s first quarter ($268.5 per 1,000 cu m).

Moscow raised the price for Kiev to $385.5 per 1,000 cu m in the second quarter of 2014 because Ukraine failed to fulfill its commitments under an additional agreement concluded in December 2013, which obliged the country to pay for supplied volumes of Russian gas in time.

Another raise to $485.5 per 1,000 cu m was due to the cancelation of the Kharkiv Accords with Ukraine, which had been struck in 2010 and stipulated that Russia’s lease of naval facilities in Crimea (then part of Ukraine) would be extended by 25 years beyond 2017 - until 2042. The accords also envisioned a $100 discount.

Crimea refused to recognize the legitimacy of authorities propelled to power in Ukraine during a coup that rocked the country in February 2014. The peninsula held a referendum and reunified with Russia in mid-March, seceding from Ukraine after some 60 years as part of it.

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