News From Russia: January 2nd, 2009!

Windows to Russia!RBC, 01.01.2009, Kiev 19:45:42.At today’s news conference, Oleg Dubina, chairman of Naftogaz of Ukraine, told journalists that the company was planning to import 46bn cubic meters of gas in 2009, with gas transit expected to reach 120bn cubic meters. The gas price of $250 per 1,000 cubic meters proposed by Russia, combined with the gas transit fee maintained at its current mark of $1.7 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas per 100 kilometers, will drive Ukraine’s losses up to $500m, Dubina said. Naftogaz suggested buying gas at $235 per 1,000 cubic meters, and charging $1.8 per 1,000 cubic meters of gas carried for 100 kilometers. According to Dubina, after the proposal was made the talks with Gazprom were suspended rather than ended altogether. He assured journalists that Ukraine did not withdraw from the negotiations, adding that he had been on the phone with Gazprom’s CEO Alexei Miller this morning. He stated that he was ready to restart talks any time, if Russia adopted a “constructive” stance.

RBC, 01.01.2009, Kiev 19:30:01.Gas talks with Russia should be resumed over the next few days, to be completed by January 7, Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko said in a statement today. “I think we are close to a compromise solution, and I would like to ask the Russian president and prime minister, as well as the Ukrainian delegation in the talks with Gazprom, to do everything possible to complete these negotiations as soon as possible,” he emphasized.

RBC, 01.01.2009, Moscow 17:52:12.Alexei Gudyma, advisor to Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko on fuel and energy matters, believes that Russia and Ukraine are on track to sign a gas deal before the Russian Orthodox Christmas on January 7. The deal is to cover all issues, including the Russian gas transit price via Ukraine, the Echo of Moscow radio quoted the advisor as saying.

RBC, 01.01.2009, Moscow 17:45:52.Ukraine prevents independent observers from inspecting gas compressor stations on its territory, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov reported. “We can see a barrage of statements from Ukraine that it will ensure the transit of Russian gas to European consumers. This is good news for us, but the question arises: why independent observers, who arrive at the borders of Ukraine’s gas transportation system and are already working at both gas-compressor and gas-holder stations in Russia and Slovakia, are prevented from entering Ukraine’s stations,” Kupriyanov said. An independent auditor, which has enough experience, is currently inspecting the amount of Russian gas transit through Ukraine, with the inspection results to be announced on January 2, according to Kupriyanov.

RBC, 01.01.2009, Moscow 16:55:53.Gazprom has signed gas contracts with Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan providing for a gas price of more than $301 per 1,000 cubic meters. The gas price, based on an average European gas price level, has been set for the first quarter of 2009, Echo of Moscow quoted official spokesman for Gazprom Sergei Kurpiyanov as saying. He also noted that Gazprom had been supplying the gas from Central Asia to Ukraine. Yesterday, Gazprom’s Deputy Chairman of the Management Committee Alexander Medvedev said that Gazprom had reached deals with all of its suppliers (Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kazakhstan), but the contracts had not yet been signed. He gave no prices at that time.

RBC, 01.01.2009, Moscow 15:24:26.Gazprom increased supplies to Belarus by 20m cubic meters of natural gas in a move not related to the lack of a gas deal with Ukraine, the gas giant’s official spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told a news conference. The increase stems from a rise in consumer demand, Kupriyanov stressed.

RBC, 01.01.2009, Moscow 14:45:23.Gazprom has cut gas supplies for Ukrainian consumers by 110m cubic meters of gas, while gas export shipments were increased to 326m cubic meters, official spokesman for Gazprom Sergei Kupriyanov told a news conference today. He reiterated that Gazprom and Ukraine still had no gas deal for 2009, suggesting Russia had no legal ground to continue gas supplies. With this in mind, Gazprom halted gas deliveries to Ukraine. Kupriyanov noted that Russia was pumping less gas from its underground storages, while the cut has had no effect on the gas giant’s output.

RBC, 01.01.2009, Moscow 14:30:05.Gazprom is urging Naftogaz of Ukraine to continue talks on the 2009 gas contract, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov reported. He said information about gas price levels acceptable to Ukraine appeared on Wednesday evening, but it was after the Ukrainian delegation left Gazprom.

RBC, 31.12.2008, Moscow 19:30:21.Gazprom has offered Ukraine a preferential gas price for 2009, at $250 per 1,000 cubic meters, but Ukraine rejected it, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with President Dmitry Medvedev broadcast by Vesti TV Channel. Putin said he had discussed the matter with Ukrainian Prime Minister Julia Timoshenko earlier today. He said Russia was ready for further gas talks with Ukraine.

RBC, 31.12.2008, Moscow 16:58:07.Naftogaz of Ukraine has informed Russian gas giant Gazprom that it could seize Russian gas intended for European consumers, Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters today. “If no agreement is reached on the terms of transit transportation, there will be no legal grounds to accept Russian gas into Ukraine’s gas transportation system,” says a letter signed by Naftogaz of Ukraine CEO Oleg Dubina. Such gas could be identified as gas owned by an unknown owner, and seized as such, the document warns.

RBC, 31.12.2008, Moscow 16:30:44.The issue of Ukraine’s debt for Russian gas has been settled without any help from Gazprom, the company’s spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov told reporters today. “This means we were right,” he stressed. After denying its Russian gas debt for the past few months, Ukraine yesterday formally recognized that it owes $2 billion for Russian gas, taking steps to settle the debt, according to Kupriyanov. “It turned out that Ukraine has had the money all this time; the issue has been settled without Gazprom’s financial help,” he said, criticizing Ukraine’s actions as the “purposeful delay” of negotiations on the terms of cooperation in 2009. Naftogaz of Ukraine said yesterday it had transferred over $1.522 billion to the bank accounts of RosUkrEnergo. RosUkrEnergo has confirmed that it received the money, adding that Ukraine still owed it more than $600 million. Kupriyanov stressed that Ukraine had to pay its debt in full.