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MOSCOW, May 31. /TASS/. Russian energy giant Gazprom may turn to a court of law to obstruct Ukraine’s attempts to raise the gas transit rates in a unilateral manner, Gazprom Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev said on Tuesday.
"If we fail to agree, we’ll decide the matter in an arbitration tribunal," he said, adding Gazprom was not refusing to negotiate with Ukraine.
Debt to Gazprom for supplies to Southeast Ukraine totals $600 mln, Medvedev added.
"We have a single gas contract for gas deliveries to Ukraine, including the Donetsk and Lugansk Regions where Ukrainian citizens live and where Ukrainian enterprises operate," he said.
"There are no separate bills and the debt there has already reached $600 million," the Gazprom deputy CEO said.
The debt of Belarus for Russia’s gas supplies exceeds $200 mln, Medvedev said.
"There are arrears in payment to the Belarusian company (Gazprom Transgaz Belarus owned by Gazprom - TASS) from Belarus’ consumers. The backlog is rather serious, exceeding 200 (mln dollars)," he said.
Gazprom may supply more than 165 bln cubic meters of gas to Europe in 2016, Medvedev said.
"I do not rule out that we [Gazprom’s gas supplies - TASS] may even exceed 165 [bln cubic meters this year] if the autumn and the winter are not very cold," he said.
According to Medvedev, the forecasted 165 bln cubic meters only cover gas supplies contracted by Gazprom Export while beyond that "there are exports of the group’s subsidiaries."
In 2015, Gazprom boosted gas exports to non-CIS countries by 8% compared with 2014 to 159.4 bln cubic meters.
Gazprom may earn $28 bln from gas export in 2016, he added. "Speaking about the foreign exchange, we forecast revenues will be about $28 bln this year," Medvedev said.
Exports to non-CIS countries went up by 16% in the first five months of this year compared with the same period in 2015, Medvedev said.
"Plus 16% versus last year," he said when answering the respective question.
Medvedev considers it possible to reach agreements on the contract with Poland’s PGNIG through the pre-trial process.
"As far as the arbitration proceeding is concerned it was not yesterday but long ago that the Polish side filed the application. And as is common the launch of an arbitration proceeding does not put an end to negotiations," Medvedev said Tuesday.
"If you ask me whether it is possible to settle the pricing issue through the pre-trial process I will reply that it is," he added.
Gazprom does not rule out renewal of the natural gas procurement contract with Turkmenistan but no arrangement on talks is in place to date.
"We are ready for talks but I regret saying neither time nor venue has been determined so far," Medvedev said.
A source in Gazprom told TASS earlier Gazprom Export [Gazprom’s export arm] notified Turkmengaz about termination of Turkmen natural gas procurement from January 1, 2016.