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European Commission proposes to hold consultations on gas in Moscow this week

July 28, 2014, 14:15 UTC+3 28 28/7
The main topic of this meeting should be the resuming of trilateral gas consultations between the EU, Russia and Ukraine aimed at seeking a “solution in a package”
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An operator passes a map of Ukrainian gas transportation system

An operator passes a map of Ukrainian gas transportation system

© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

BRUSSELS, July 28. /ITAR-TASS/. The European Commission proposes to hold consultations on gas between EU Energy Commissioner Gunter Oettinger and Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak in Moscow this week. The EU Commission’s press service reported this on Monday.

However, Russia hasn’t given a response yet.

“We suggest to hold another round of ministerial consultations on gas in Moscow until the end of the week. We expect Russia’s reaction to this proposal,” the European Commission’s press service said.

The main topic of this meeting should be the resuming of trilateral gas consultations between the EU, Russia and Ukraine aimed at seeking a “solution in a package” for the issue of gas price and its supplies to Kiev, as well as for the issue of Ukraine’s payment for the existing gas debt to Russia.

It is vitally important for the EU the resuming of Russia’s gas supplies to Ukraine, since without them, the country will fail to fill its underground gas storage facilities before the winter season. These gas storage facilities are the source of reserve gas supplies to the EU in periods of maximum consumption triggered by extremely cold weather.

Oettinger stated earlier that the European Commission could achieve a compromise between Ukraine and Russia on the gas issue until the end of this summer, but so far, there are no such prospects.

Earlier, the issue of resuming trilateral ministerial talks was discussed in Brussels July 24 between European commissioner Oettinger and Ukraine’s Minister for Energy and Coalmining Industry Yuriy Prodan.

“We are ready to continue this consultations and talks at any moment,” Prodan said after this meeting. However, this readiness means little since Ukraine’s stance hasn’t undergone any significant changes: Kiev wants a gas price that is $50 less for a thousand cubic meters that the Brussels-proposed compromise of $385, put forward this spring.

In addition, Kiev insists on reconsideration of the whole contract with Gazprom.

The trilateral gas talks kicked off May 2 and ended fruitlessly June 16. After that, Gazprom and Naftogaz filed counter-claims with the Stockholm Arbitrary Court.

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