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Interfax.com  |  Interfax news  |  Ukraine refuses to pay gas debt to Russia if...


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April 12, 2014 16:36

Ukraine refuses to pay gas debt to Russia if price rises

KYIV. April 12 (Interfax) - Ukraine is willing to pay off its natural gas arrears to Russia if the latter reverses its decision to substantially raise the price for its gas, said the chief executive of Ukrainian state-owned oil and gas company Naftogaz.

Ukraine suspended payments for Russian gas for the period of talks in which it is pressing Russian gas monopoly Gazprom (MOEX: GAZP) to go back on its decision to put up the price, Andriy Kobolev told Ukrainian weekly Dzerkalo Tyzhnya (Zn.ua).

"We are continuing our negotiations with Gazprom about the price that would be charged as from April 1, 2014. Under the terms of the contract, we have put forward an official proposal for keeping the price at $268.5 per 1,000 cubic meters. We've had no response yet," Kobolev said.

He said that neither Naftogaz nor Gazprom had ever described the $268.5 price, which was charged in the first quarter of this year, as "political," and that this meant there are no market factors to justify a raise.

"As of April 1, the debt for gas acquired by [Naftogaz] amounted to $2.2 billion," Kobolev said. "In the course of our negotiations with Alexei Borisovich [Gazprom chief executive Alexei Miller], we have clearly stated the Ukrainian position that the payment of the debt that has been accumulated is directly linked to keeping the natural gas price at the level of the first quarter of this year."

"We can see no reason to revise it, and we believe that the amount close to $500 that has been suggested by the Russian side is a non-market, groundless and unacceptable price. Consequently, we have suspended our payments for the period of the negotiations," Kobolev said.

He expressed hope that the Russian side would put economic considerations above political ones because Ukraine is one of Europe's largest gas markets and losing it would be painful for Gazprom.

He also claimed that, given the relatively small amount of Russian gas transmitted to Europe through Ukrainian territory, Ukraine's transit charge is too low. The current charge would only make sense if the Ukrainian pipelines were used to capacity and cost relatively little to operate, he argued.

"The reality is that our gas pipeline system is only running at half capacity at the moment, and its cost of financing is very high. This means that the charge should be a lot higher," he said.

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(Our editorial staff can be reached at eng.editors@interfax.ru)

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July 29, 2014
 
23:21
Late Georgian tycoon's family sees ex-President Saakashvili prosecution as restoration of justice
 
22:55
Poroshenko discusses probe into Boeing crash with Dutch, Australian PMs
 
22:34
Ukraine interested in finding out all circumstances of Boeing crash - PM Yatsenyuk
 
22:08
Rosneft, PDVSA setting up engineering, construction JV
 
22:05
Estonian Foreign Ministry to send note to Russian Embassy over diplomat's behavior
 
22:01
Rosneft could move several projects due to sanctions - Sechin
 
21:57
Rosneft head Sechin rules out bargaining over Arbitration Court's ruling on Yukos
 
21:50
Brussels formally announces agreement on sectoral sanctions against Moscow - document (Part 2)
 
21:40
GML will not challenge court ruling on Yukos tax optimization - Nevzlin
 
21:37
 
21:31
Brussels formally announces agreement on sectoral sanctions against Moscow - document
 
21:25
Self-proclaimed Donetsk People's Republic leadership open to cooperation with any teams in probing Boeing crash - statement
 
21:19
Head of OSCE checkpoint monitoring mission arrives in Rostov-on-Don
 
21:11
Kyiv seeking to devise system for bilateral ceasefire in eastern Ukraine - Foreign Minister Klimkin
 
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