Russia, Ukraine to sign new gas deal Monday, says Gazprom

January 18th, 2009 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Moscow, Jan 18 (RIA Novosti) Gazprom is preparing documents on gas supplies to Ukraine and gas transit to Europe for signing Monday, the Russian energy giant said Sunday. “We are working to ensure that the documents are signed Monday,” Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said.

The ceremony of signing the gas deal is expected to be attended by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Yulia Tymoshenko.

The Russian and Ukrainian premiers announced early Sunday after intense talks in Moscow that they had reached a deal making it possible to restart gas supplies to Europe. The premiers instructed Gazprom and Naftogaz to prepare and sign a formal agreement.

Putin said after the talks that Ukraine would pay the European price for Russian natural gas with a 20 percent discount this year, while Kiev will not increase the current transit fees it receives for Russian gas.

From 2010, Ukraine will pay the full market price for Russian natural gas while Russia will pay European market prices for transit, Putin said.

Ukraine paid $179.5 per 1,000 cubic meters for Russian natural gas in 2008 which is less than half the price paid by European consumers.

The European price for natural gas in the first quarter of this year stands at about $450 per 1,000 cubic meters but is expected to fall significantly later this year to reflect the decrease in world oil prices.

Tymoshenko said the talks were uneasy. “But we had come to mutual understanding, which makes it possible to sign all contract documents.”

“As soon as the documents are signed, all natural gas deliveries will be restored,” Tymoshenko said.

Russia suspended supplies to Ukraine Jan 1 after Ukraine failed to agree on debt and prices for 2009.

A week later, Gazprom cut off gas supplies to the European Union (EU), saying Ukraine was stealing gas intended for EU consumers.

Following mediation by the EU, the two sides agreed to resume supplies, but deliveries had not restarted, with each side blaming the other over the impasse.

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